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Table of Contents

Extra Income Opportunity #1: How to Become a Freelance Advertising Copywriter

As a member of the Wealth Builders Club India (WBC), you are making lots of changes to improve your financial future.

You have already assessed your financial and investing habits of the past and have committed to do some things differently going forward.

But of all the new things you are doing, there is nothing more important than the new series I'll be introducing today. I'm talking about the Wealth Builders Club Extra Income Project.

The idea behind the Extra Income Project is simple. The surest and fastest way to grow your net worth is to increase your income and then direct all of that income toward one of the other WBC wealth-building activities.

We are going to begin this series with an income opportunity that is, in many respects, one of the best I know of. I am referring to making extra money as a freelance direct-response copywriter.

What is a freelance direct-response copywriter?

It is someone who works from home (or just about anywhere), writing sales messages for companies that sell products directly to consumers.

Take Paul H., for example. Paul was stocking shelves in a supermarket when I met him. Now he's making $300,000 per year as a copywriter. This is how Paul describes his life now:

I spend most of my time in a little historic town in the Vermont countryside and one week per month a short walk from the beach in South Florida.

I have no bosses, no commute.

I write from an extra room I set up in my home. Some days, I'll head to the local coffee shop, just for a change of scenery.

For a break, I'll walk over to the old Equinox Resort for lunch- or take our dogs, Yukon and Betty, over to Hildene Meadows for a run.

I absolutely love the freedom of it!

My neighbours think I've taken early retirement-probably because they never see me working.

In many ways, I have retired. Because, for the first time in my life, I decide how my days will be spent. Some days, I'll feel like working for a few hours (typically in the morning). Other days, I'll play some golf, tennis, ski-or just hang out with my 13-year-old son.

But what surprises people most (and may surprise you, too) is the income my “retirement” lifestyle gives me: around $300,000 per year. The income potential from copywriting is significant. If Paul wanted to work fewer hours, he could do so at the drop of the hat. He could work just two hours per day and make $60,000. Or half days and make $150,000.

You can see why direct-response copywriting is so high on my list. It's the money!

But it's not just the money that makes being a freelance copywriter so appealing. It's the freedom it gives you to create your “ideal” career.

That's what Krista Jones did. After 18 years as an engineer, Krista was ready to find a less stressful, more satisfying career. “It was easy for me to walk away from my career after I [learned the skill of copywriting]. I had all of the work I could handle. I feel like I'm finally leading the life I was meant to live.”

Paul began copywriting as a 30-year-old. Krista was in her 30s too. But you can get into the game at any age. Take Starr Daubenmire, who became a copywriter at 58 after she was laid off from her job as a quality control coordinator.

Says Starr:

I realized I was living the copywriter's life when I became glad I had lost my corporate job. Believe me, I was terribly insulted when it happened, and it was a huge blow to my confidence. But now I know I have the skill and determination to depend on myself-not someone else and especially not a corporation that viewed me as a statistic, rather than a real person. Now I don't worry about the company's bottom line-I take care of my own. Starr's been a copywriter for several years now, and she says, “The freedom factor just keeps getting better. I can take a two-hour lunch and go for a swim. I can run to the school and pick up a sick grandchild. And I can work from anywhere I like-home, the bookstore, while traveling. Absolutely nothing beats being your own boss!”

And you don't have to commit yourself to working full time to enjoy the benefits of copywriting. Many people work part time as freelance copywriters to supplement their current incomes.

Let's take a closer look at this income opportunity.

What Is Direct-Response Marketing?

Companies use direct response to sell everything from mattresses to financial newsletters… from health supplements to fruit baskets. Nonprofits-from political candidates to environmental organizations, to children's aid groups-raise billions using direct-response techniques, too. And let's not forget the multibillion-dollar business-to-business market, one of the most lucrative and in-demand niches of the direct-response industry for copywriters.

All of them use direct response because a well-written letter can bring in millions of dollars-for a fraction of the cost of opening a storefront or selling wholesale to retailers.

Direct-response marketing allows companies to reach the people and businesses most likely to buy their products… simply by sending letters and emails to those who have shown an interest in similar products in the past.

But a direct-response promotion is nothing without the right words. It needs to convey the right message… say the right things… be structured in the right way… and be written to make the prospective buyer take action.

And these days, more and more selling is done online. Through websites, emails, landing pages, discussion boards, and forums-even through the pages of well-known social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Indian e-Commerce market alone is worth about $ 13 billion, according to an IAMAI-KPMG report.

That's where the copywriter comes in.

Income Potential

Advertising copywriters typically make from $50-500 per hour. (That's $100,000-1 million per year, working 40 hours per week.) How much you can make per hour depends on two factors: how good you are and what kind of businesses you work for.

Competent copywriters can find plenty of work writing sales brochures and letters for local businesses in India as well. Writing copy for a six-page brochure, for example, will take between two and five hours-depending on the skill of the copywriter. I'm told that at the local level, businesses would be happy to pay Rs. 25-30,000 for a brochure.

Good copywriters tend to work for larger companies with national or international reach. Such companies spend millions of dollars on advertising every year, so their budgets for copywriting are much larger. Writing a sales package for a new product might take the copywriter 40-60 hours. The compensation for such a package could run into hundereds of thousands of rupees (or lacs, as you would say in India).

The best copywriters (and there are hundreds of them) charge a base salary for writing copy, and then demand royalties on sales that their letters generate which can easily double or triple their base fees. Sometimes royalties can bring lacs of rupees in commissions while the advertisement is running.

I know this essay seems like sales copy. But I can tell you from having spent more than 30 years teaching ordinary people how to write sales letters that copywriting is a seriously good way to earn extra income.

When Monica Day first heard about the income potential of copywriting about 10 years ago, she was skeptical. But she was “desperate” and “broke,” so she decided to give it a try. Three years after making the decision to become a copywriter, she claimed $134,408 on her income tax return. And it was all from copywriting!

Make $206,000 Writing One Letter per Month!

Get paid $206,000 to write 12 letters? It can (and does) happen.

A writer with an established track record can command $8,000 per letter. So 12 letters pays $96,000 in writing fees alone.

Now let's say six of those letters become “controls”-which means they bring in the most money and keep mailing time after time. If, over the course of a year, each of those six letters mails five or six times, your royalties can add up to another $120,000.

That's over $206,000 per year, writing one letter a month!

More letters equal more writing fees. More controls equal more royalties!

The Size of the Opportunity

One of the best-kept secrets in the advertising world is how large the direct response industry is. When you think of advertising, you typically think of Madison Avenue executives designing magazine ads and television commercials. But the big market for copywriters is the direct-response industry-with yearly sales of $2.3 trillion worldwide.

In fact, direct-response advertising is larger than magazines, television, and radio advertising put together. And it is fast becoming the dominant form of advertising on the Internet, as well.

Direct-response marketing represents 54.2% of all ad spending in the U.S.

30% of the $55 billion spent on direct marketing in the U.S. is for online campaigns

There are more than 3,500 companies in the direct-marketing services industry

Every $1 spent on direct-marketing ads brings in an average of $11.65 in sales

Direct marketing generated 8.3% of the total U.S. gross domestic product in 2010. The leading industry organization, the Direct Marketing Association, cites that there are 1.4 million employees working with direct-marketing companies in the U.S. Because of its immense size, the direct- response advertising industry employs hundreds of thousands of freelance copywriters and is always looking for more.

That means plenty of opportunities for new writers-the ability for copywriters to pick and choose where they work…and the possibilities of outsourcing to an English-speaking country like India.

Copywriting Is the Perfect Transitional Income Opportunity

Most Wealth Builders Club members have part- or full-time jobs. That means they don't have the ability to jump into copywriting full time. They need to continue making money while they learn their new trade.

Copywriting offers you the chance to do just that. You can learn the skills you need in the evenings, on your lunch breaks, after dinner, or on the weekends. And you can begin your own freelance career working odd hours too.

As Ed Gandia of Marietta, Ga., says:

In 2003, I had advanced to a point in my sales career where weekly travel was inevitable. I was at the top of my field, earning a great living. But as a new dad, I didn't want to be away from home all the time. Plus, I was getting tired of continually rising quotas-an inevitable reality when you're in sales. Eleven years of chasing numbers had worn me out. I was ready for a change. Yet I didn't want to sacrifice my high income and my family's financial future.

Copywriting allowed me to develop the skills I needed to transition away from a six-figure sales career and into a six-figure copywriting business. In my first full year as a freelance copywriter, I earned $163,481. Copywriting Is the Perfect Part-Time Retirement Business

If you are retired and dread going back to work full time, copywriting can offer you the opportunity to enjoy a good secondary income without working 40 hours per week. Many copywriters do that, especially after they have achieved their financial goals. They keep writing because they love to and because it brings in extra income-which is always welcome.

Take Kelly Richardson, for example. He wrote to me a while back to thank me for introducing him to the copywriting opportunity. He says, “Working VERY part time (I'm still a full-time high school English teacher), I've just cleared over $40,000 in project fees in the past year.”

Fringe Benefits

I've said that direct-response copywriting is one of my favourite extra income opportunities because of the flexibility it offers and also because of the extraordinary income potential. But there are many other benefits, as well. For example: You don't have to dress in business clothes. You can work in your underwear. By working at home, communicating with your clients by phone or email, nobody will ever know the difference.

“I don't even have to get out of my pyjamas,” says copywriter Penny Thomas, who discovered copywriting after being laid off from her investment-banking job right before Christmas 2002.

You don't have to work with people you don't like. Once you develop expertise in some market, it won't be hard to find as much work as you want. With more potential clients wanting you than you can afford to service, you'll be able to “fire” those who don't value your services (i.e., pay you enough) or are disagreeable in any way.

By learning the skill of copywriting, you can derive all sorts of “fringe” benefits.

You will find that you are a more persuasive thinker and talker. You will better understand advertising as a consumer. And you will become a better thinker simply through the practice of writing copy every day.

Another benefit of being a freelance direct-response copywriter is travel. Since you can write from anywhere, you can work and travel anywhere-while getting paid.

As Paul H. says, “I've been on dozens of trips over the years: Barbados, France, Spain, and beautiful five-star resorts throughout Canada and the States. My last trip was a seven-day cruise aboard a Crystal Cruise ship. And since I actually worked on these trips, I paid for none of them.”

If you like to write fiction or essays, learning copywriting can only improve your skills. As Steve Sjuggerud, editor of the investment newsletter True Wealth, says, “My success in investing has come from learning and applying the secrets of the investment masters-Soros, Buffett, Templeton, etc. My success as a writer has come from learning and applying the secrets of [copywriting].”

Perhaps the greatest benefit is peace of mind. As Cheryl Malcham, a “retired” freelance copywriter from Mercer Island, Wash., says, “The ability to pay my bills no longer worries me, even in these rough times. I know I can always market my skills to an endless list of clients and keep enough copywriting projects rolling in.”

What It Takes to Succeed

When most people think of writing professionally, they assume that it takes a great deal of natural talent to succeed. And some professional copywriters like to keep this idea alive because it is flattering to them. (I make six figures as a writer. Therefore, I am a creative genius.)

The truth is that having a natural talent for writing, though helpful, is not at all necessary. Some of the best writers in the business have no formal writing background at all. They just like to write and have learned the skill of copywriting. If you can write a simple letter or tell a simple story you have the fundamental writing skills you need.

How could this be? Writing novels and poems and essays requires skill and creativity. But writing sales copy is simpler. The reason for that is the most basic principle of the sales process: At the emotional level, most people are the same. We tend to respond the same way to exciting stories, to big promises, to hidden secrets, to personal invitations, etc., in a predictable way. Successful salespeople understand those patterns. As a student of direct-response advertising, you can learn those patterns and employ them to write letters that sell.

In my experience, it takes about six months of guided practice to attain competency as a copywriter. At that point, you should be able to begin soliciting clients at the $50-per-hour range. If you continue to practice your trade diligently, you can become relatively expert at copywriting in another 18-24 months. By that time, you should be able to take on larger clients who will be happy to pay you $100-500 per hour. (You normally don't charge by the hour. You charge by the job. These hourly figures are estimates based on average productivity.)

The examples and figures I am enlisting here are quoted in US dollars. That is because copywriting has already made it big in the US market with thousands of writers earning millions of dollars working from the comfort of their home. And looking at the growing Indian economy and the fast rising internet penetration, it holds immense money-making potential in India as well.

This opportunity is available to everyone, everywhere, just as long as you are online.

One of my colleagues in India, let's call him D.S., began writing copy because he loved the small town he lived in too much to go to some noisy city and get a full-time office job. His copy brought in some decent earnings, but as his experience increased so did his income. In fact, I happen to know he recently wrote a package of sales letters for an Indian company based in Mumbai that brought in almost Rs. 2 crores in a two-week sales campaign. He gets a revenue share of 1% on that. That's 2 lacs for less than a month of part-time work while sitting in his beloved hometown in southern India, far away from any office or traffic! Not a bad deal, right?

And that's just the first campaign. Now, every time they use any of his sales letters - he gets a percentage of sales, without doing any additional work. So imagine if he just writes one successful sales letter a year for five years - after five years he will be collecting commission on all these without even having to work at all.

And you can bag that kind of opportunity too. Copywriters can travel the world and still work. Wherever you are, whatever your currency, these figures apply to you too - you just have to pick up the basics, and look in the right place.

How to Get Started Now

If you think you'd like to become a freelance copywriter and make extra income that way, you can get started immediately.

Indians already have the advantage of a good command of English. You don't need to have great writing skills - all you need is to learn the best copywriting techniques.

The first thing I recommend is that you read the manual that American Artists & Writers Inc. (AWAI) has prepared for us. It's called Copywriting 101: Secrets for Launching Your Million-Dollar Writing Career. It will give you a more detailed idea of the benefits and advantages of this line of work. It will also give you more examples of how copywriting has changed the lives of many AWAI members.

You will receive the manual as part of the WBC reports.

If, after reading that special report, you are still excited about the opportunity, you can check out some of the AWAI courses too, such as The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

I recommend AWAI enthusiastically. It was based on my original teachings and has been revised and improved a dozen times in the past 15-odd years with the help of the insights of many of today's best copywriters. If you want to learn this amazingly valuable skill at home in greater depth, there is no better program.

First, check out the free report we will send you and get a sense of the great opportunity this brings to you.

Best, Mark

* Editor's Note:

Dear Reader,

After having read the report linked below and looked up and spoken to several copywriters I was convinced that that this was a good idea. But it was not until I received an envelope with my name on it that I understood how prevalent copywriting is around me.

The envelope was addressed to me, but it was unexpected. It was about two pages long, and intrigued about its contents I read it through. It was an unsolicited direct-response marketing promotional letter from some pest control company. And it definitely got my attention. The letter I received was quite poorly written, not incorporating any of the copywriting techniques I had read about in the AWAI report and it still caught my attention. Imagine if it was well-written and could get a response from even a few hundred of the thousands of households it was sent to? Clearly there is a need for better copywriters out there.

Now that I am aware of this area of marketing I see opportunities everywhere. As soon as I finish my copywriting course I plan to reach out to the pest control company and offer them my services. I have already started putting the word out to family and friends that I am available as a freelance copywriter, and am going to assess all the online opportunities that are mushrooming in my Inbox everyday.

Once you read the copywriting manual I recommend you do the same, because you will see its enormous potential too.

Click here to download the Copyrighting Report.

Happy copywriting,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club


Extra Income Opportunity #2: Earn up to $1,500 for Capturing a Simple "Story" on Camera

Can you take a photo like this?

Every time I see photos by Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, or like the one above by Walker Evans, I tell myself I should take up photography as a hobby. What I admire about their work is that these single images deliver beautiful little stories straight to the heart. But what inspires me is that they are so simple. They look like something I could do.

I have many friends whose hobby is taking pictures. Some of them are quite good, as you can see here:

Photo courtesy Gwen Gove

Photo courtesy Trish Irish

Photo courtesy Trish Irish When I first had this fantasy many years ago, photography was a challenging pastime. One needed expensive SLR cameras, lots of attachments, access to a lab, and a good deal of technical knowledge.

[“SLR,” short for “single-lens reflex,” is a term associated with film and digital cameras. SLR cameras use a mirror between the lens and the film, or image sensor, to provide a focus screen. This means the image you see in the viewfinder (or LCD) will be the same as what appears on film or as your digital image.] Nowadays, the barrier of entry is much lower. You can buy amazing digital cameras for a fraction of the cost of the old SLRs. Even the cameras on iPhones and iPads produce great photos.

And developing and editing photos is now an easy task. Dozens of online photo shop services that make sizing, cropping, framing, and color correcting easy are available.

In short, creating beautiful photos is easier than ever. And that is why millions of people all over the world are becoming amateur photographers every year.

But this Extra Income opportunity essay is not just about becoming a skilled photographer. I also want to talk about how you can make money by taking photographs-money that can serve as a nice second income if you put your mind to it.

I wouldn't have believed it was possible to earn income as a part-time freelance photographer had it not been for a friend of mine who started a newsletter on the subject several years ago.

For about 10 years now, Lori Allen, the director of The Photographer's Life (a division of American Writers & Artists Inc.), and her team have been teaching people how to make extra money through travel writing.

I commend you for the complete due diligence you appear to be committed to in the Palm Beach Wealth Builders Club. Club member Pat F. But several years ago, Lori realized that her team was overlooking a big opportunity. They realized that more and more, the folks who took their travel-writing program were writing in to say they were having success selling not only articles, but, increasingly, articles with photos.

They looked into it and discovered that magazine editors love it when writers submit photos with articles, because it makes their jobs easier. Otherwise, the editors would have to commission photographers to take the pictures they need.

Typically, these editors pay from a couple of hundred to more than a thousand dollars per photo. But they won't accept any photo. They have very specific requirements that most amateur photographers simply don't understand.

That's when Lori decided to develop a program to teach the trade of professional freelance photography to amateurs-people with simple cameras. The program went public in spring 2005 and has been a huge success ever since.

Can You Really Make Money Taking Photos? I asked Lori about the income potential of taking and selling photos-and I asked her to be realistic. She said, “If you can get past the idea that it's only pretty pictures that sell… and you can learn how to spot what it is that photo buyers really want, it's possible to make $50-500 per photo as an amateur. That's fantastic money for something most of us do, anyway-taking pictures.”

I asked for examples.

Stock photography, travel photography, and local photography are the three biggest markets Lori talks about in their programs.

When you sell your photos as stock (“microstock” is what it's called when you do it online-the only kind of stock photography really open to amateurs), you send your photos to an online warehouse (a microstock agency).

It reviews the photos. Accepts or rejects them. And then makes them available in an online catalog for buyers to search and buy. Shelly Perry, a photographer who sells her images as microstock, said she “earns, on average, $0.87 per photo per month from sales through online stock agencies.”

As of this writing, she has more than 3,366 photos on file with one agency, which amounts to more than $2,800 per month in passive income. She doesn't have to lift another finger and she'll still continue to earn $2,800 per month.

Think about that. If Shelly stopped taking photos today, she'd still earn enough money every month to cover two car payments, a weekend getaway, and a mortgage payment and still be left with money to save.

The Math of Photography Let's take a look at the math of stock photography and how much money you can earn doing it… published an article about the math of stock photography titled “How to Make a Million Dollars in Microstock.”

It crunched some numbers and found that if you make $4 per image, and you add 400 new images to your portfolio per month, you'll be a millionaire in fewer than three years.

Sound ambitious?

It should. Four hundred images per month is a lot of photographs. And in stock, your photos have to be technically perfect, so 400 images is really more like 4,000 whittled down to 400 after you take out all that won't pass muster.

So let's look at some more attainable math…

Let's say you start now with zero images in your portfolio. And instead of uploading your photos to one agency, you upload to four.

If you upload 20 photos per week to four different agencies, that's 320 new images for sale per month.

Assuming you'll earn around $1 per image per month (a much more realistic goal), by this time next year, you'll have made over $23,000.

Keep uploading 20 new photos to four agencies per week, and your monthly income will continue to grow…

In your second year, you'll make $69,120.

In your third year, you'll make $115,200. It keeps going up from there.

Of course, this is assuming you can upload 20 new photos per week, that they're all accepted, and that you can maintain an average income of $1 per image per month.

To do that, you'll need to consistently take good photos that sell. And you need to reserve some time at night or on weekends to learn how to edit your images in a program like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, as it's an absolute necessity that your images get processed before you submit them.

Local photos are a different market. Photographer Rich Wagner sells his local photographs as fine art, postcards, greeting cards, and even to magazines featuring articles about his hometown.

“My best-selling image is one I took just 15 miles from my house,” he said. “I waited for fall when the leaves were just right and the sky was clear blue.

There's a tower in the distance-one everyone who lives here has to pass on their way to work, school, or the airport, so it's iconic.

“That image has earned me over $20,000 in the last five years. Others sell for between $45 and $800 a piece. Photography is not my day job. It's a hobby that has now put all five of my daughters through college.”

And travel photos sell too. These are pictures you take while on vacation or out doing touristy things in your hometown.

Travel photos sell best to magazines, newspapers, websites, and guidebooks. But they also sell locally and to microstock agencies.

Lori told me this about selling travel photographs: “Our members have the most success selling their travel images with a travel article. For both a small 300-500 word article and one to two photos, they might earn $500-1,500. Some publications pay more. Others pay less.”

Patrick Stevens, whose wife is a travel writer, says he sometimes gets more for his photos than his wife gets for her articles. Together, they can turn a vacation with the kids into nearly $3,000. She writes the travel stories. He takes the pictures. The kids step in as models when needed.

Here's one of their more recent magazine spreads about Colorado Springs, Colo. This one appeared in an airline in-flight magazine…

How Big Is the Market for Photography? The market for travel writers is huge. And the market for freelance photography is just as big.

Worldwide, more than 15 million photographs are published each year. That's more than 40,000 per day.

That's big. But what is more important for our purposes is this: Freelance photographers produce the great majority of published (and paid-for) photos.

Stock photo agencies are constantly on the lookout for new talent. Magazine editors are too. And in the past few years, the Web has become a huge market of its own.

That means there are plenty of opportunities for you to sell your photos… once you know how to take salable photos. That's why this is a perfect Extra Income opportunity.

Where Can You Sell Your Photos? Photo opportunities exist everywhere. On the roadside… at work… while talking with friends… in your backyard… a nearby zoo… special events… festivals… sporting events… pie-eating contests… and more…

Just take a look around you-at magazines, newspapers, books, trade journals, technical manuals, and almost any published material. Look at the cover and flip through the pages. What do you see? Photographs.

Someone has to take those pictures. Why not you?

Amateurs Become Professionals Meet Tim O'Rielly. A San Diego resident, Tim has long enjoyed taking pictures of his home city. On walks and even at work, he finds time to snap photos of people and places and things that catch his eye. But different from the tens of thousands of amateur photographers in his area, Tim sells his photos for cash. He recently netted $2,000 for just 10 shots.

Tim also sells photos that he takes on vacation. He recently traveled with his family to Kauai, a beautiful Hawaiian island, and had his expenses paid, just for taking pictures.

And take a look at this photo:

Photo by Shelly Perry This is Lori and her husband at their wedding. It sells online as microstock and has sold more than 200 times like this and also in black and white. On, the smallest one sells for $19 and the largest for $70.

Buyers have included photo editors, graphic designers, and small businesses. Here's how some of them have used the image…

Tim, Shelly, Rich, and Patrick aren't doing anything you can't learn to do. You don't need expensive equipment or technical knowledge. All you need is a short education on how to identify and take salable photos-something I'm going to talk about in this essay.

Imagine traveling to Tahiti for a vacation but treating it like a self-assignment. You shoot plenty of pictures that you can sell when you return home.

Or finding yourself in the Bahamas touring a local zoo and swimming with dolphins on a nearby island, all for free.

Or whisking your spouse away on a three-day weekend to Vancouver Island at someone else's expense…

These particular trips did not come from my imagination. They came from my research. They are the stories of ordinary people who decided to make extra money taking photos. Two of them, in fact, were brand-new to photography!

If you've been looking for a fun and creative Extra Income opportunity, this could be it. I'm going to outline a plan that can help you get started.

Here's What You Need to Get Started A decent camera (see box for recommendations) A willingness to learn a few things that set your photos apart A computer to edit your photos (this makes a big difference in how much you can earn from your photos). How to Buy the Right Camera By Lori Allen Don't get too wrapped up in buying the latest and greatest equipment. The best equipment is made of metal and not plastic. Great for durability.

But it's heavy, and if you're just starting out, you'll find yourself less likely to take it out of your bag because of its weight and sophistication.

Not only that, but when your pictures turn out blurry, too light, or too dark, you'll have a dozen bells and whistles to check before you find the culprit.

You'll spend your first days frustrated with the equipment before you even get a chance to shoot.

Photography should be fun. The more fun it is, the more pictures you'll take. The more pictures you take, the better you'll get at it.

Each market requires a different level of picture quality. Local photographs and some travel photographs can be created with simple point-and-shoot cameras. Microstock agencies are tougher, and the ones that pay the best no longer accept photos from a point-and-shoot.

Regardless of which market you choose, there's a new mirrorless camera technology that's all the rage. Both Panasonic and Olympus are recognized leaders in this Micro Four-Thirds market, and each makes first-rate equipment.

Here's a good place to start browsing for mirrorless cameras if you decide to get one.

Mirrorless Cameras India

Can Anybody Do This?

Anyone could do this. As I've explained, the barriers to entry are low. The market is huge. And the demand is only getting bigger.

You don't need to take exotic pictures to make money. The subjects that are most in-demand are very simple to take. For example, here are a few on demand in microstock agencies right now:

A man or woman walking a dog with a collar Doctors examining patients Candid family shots Beach and travel shots People in business suits Multiethnic groups Seasonal photos-Christmas, Holi, etc. Hobbies-golf, knitting, swimming, biking, scrapbooking, fishing, reading, sunbathing. It's not hard-as with any new income opportunity-but most people will convince themselves that freelance photography is “not for them.” They will tell themselves that they don't have the time to learn, don't have the little extra money it takes to get set up, or don't have the creativity to succeed.

The truth is Lori's group has trained people from all walks of life to do this- teachers, retirees, boat captains, flight attendants, retired military, T.V. producers, politicians, real estate agents, event planners, software consultants, massage therapists, doctors, nurses, small business owners, retired CEOs, firemen, technical writers… you name it.

How to Get Started You can get started immediately by buying or renting a camera, joining a local photo club, reading a few books, and just getting out there and taking pictures.

Composition and exposure are the two most critical elements behind a good photograph. Learn them.

Here are two good resources:

Balance in composition Knowing what your subject is. “Practice first by putting your camera in 'Program' mode,” Lori says.

“This will keep the flash from popping up but will otherwise put your camera in automatic mode. Cameras have come so far, they're right about 90% of the time. You should override what your camera suggests only when you know enough to know it's making the wrong choice.

“Put it in 'Program' mode (or 'P') and focus on composition. After that, you can learn how to manipulate your camera's aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to get the creative effects you want.”

Lori has free videos online for explaining these more advanced settings but warns not to get too bogged down with the technical specifics before you learn good composition and what it takes to create an appealing photograph.

“It doesn't matter how technically perfect your photograph is if no one likes to look at it,” Lori says. Take things one step at a time.

Here are the free videos:

Aperture (an adjustable opening in an optical instrument, such as a camera or telescope, that limits the amount of light passing through a lens or onto a mirror) Shutter speed ISO (in digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor) Understanding how these three things work together. Additionally, here are some recommended books about photography:

Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field Guide: How to See and Photograph Images With Impact Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color and Composition in Photography The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression. I've looked into courses online about selling your photographs, including PhotoSecrets and Digital Photography School, but none are as good as the course that Lori produces.

I've watched Lori and her team's progress from the beginning, and I've been very impressed with not just the quality of the teaching but the success their students have enjoyed.

I asked Lori to put together a list of places where you can sell your photos with details about the types of photos that sell best in each market. You'll find it here…

Where to Sell Your Photos Market #1: Magazines, Newspapers, and Websites Large publications like Conde Nast Traveller and National Geographic don't usually work with amateur photographers. But small publications, local papers, and limited-budget websites do.

To get a good idea of what sells, pick up a few publications around town and flip through them. Before you contact the editors, get a sense for the kinds of articles and photos they like to run. These are the types of images that will sell best to them.

Market #2: Fine Art The unofficial definition of a fine-art photograph: A photo that someone buys to hang on their wall at home, in their office, or at their establishment (if they own a business).

Rich Wagner, the photographer I told you about earlier, says, “People buy fine- art photos that 'mean' something to them. If you live in Paris, your photos of the Eiffel Tower could prove quite lucrative. But if you live in Connecticut, the likelihood of selling your Paris pictures as fine art is pretty slim.

“If you want to sell photographs locally as fine art,” he explains, “you've got to take local photographs. Among my best-selling photographs are pictures of the cows in the field next to our local airport, pictures of our local bakery, pictures of the town hall, and pictures of the local high school baseball field.” Market #3: Stock Agencies I am now a Wealth Builders Club subscriber and believer. Your approach exudes honesty and integrity, and the Wealth Builders Club will be the deciding factor in reaching my goals. Club member David B. Online stock photo agencies, such as iStockphoto or Shutterstock, are, in general, happy to work with amateurs, but they do expect near-perfect photographs, so you've got to have a good digital camera and an eye for composition.

It doesn't cost you anything to upload your pictures, and buyers can download whichever pictures they choose for anywhere between $1 and $20 or more, depending on the size of the image they want.

You, in exchange, get a royalty for each image. Anywhere from 20-40% of the photo sale. Your Next Step: What to Do, Starting Today If you already have a camera (point-and-shoot or otherwise), program it to shoot with the best quality, largest size possible.

If you don't know how to do this, look it up in your camera manual (or look online). Camera companies sometimes set the default on their cameras to the smallest settings so you can fit more images on your memory card.

This is fine if you're just creating photos for a photo album. But if you want to make money from your photos, change your settings to record the largest amount of data possible and buy an extra memory card. It's an investment that will pay off in spades and save you frustration. Learn to take better-than-average shots. Watch online videos, read books on photography, flip through magazines, and look at the photos that are getting published. What do you like about them? Can you create photos like that? Invest in a class or Lori's program to improve your skills. Take lots and lots of pictures. When you get home, you can weed out the best shots; the more you take, the more possibly good shots you have to work with. Keep in mind that not every shot is a winner or salable, and that's all right. That's why you want to take a lot while you're there.

Try, of course, to make each shot interesting. Looking at your subject from a variety of angles might give you a new idea or a fresh perspective… taking several shots will help ensure you get the right one. Two More Stories to Consider Efrain Padro Efrain Padro spent nearly 20 years practicing law before pursing photography. Like 95% of Lori's members, he didn't go to school to become a photographer- but he knew that it was his true passion. So he left the briefcase behind and picked up his camera.

Now he's selling pictures to a wide variety of clients who pay him anywhere from $100-500 a pop for the use of his images.

And on top of the income his photos generate, he's able to use his photography to bag all-expenses-paid trips like his most recent six-week trip to a beautiful Caribbean island. There, he took pictures similar to the types of things that you probably photograph on vacation-the beaches, sandcastles, and rainforests.

The only difference is that he later sells his photos for a profit, while yours likely get buried on your computer.

Terry Robinson Before Terry Robinson attended one of Lori's programs a few years ago, he had sold a handful of images to family and friends for $25-50. But when he got home, he immediately put to use the secrets and tricks he picked up. In his spare time, he set up a photo shoot in his hometown (you don't necessarily have to travel beyond your back yard to make this work)…

And he made $275 on his first set of images.

Today, he “works” only part-time. When he wants extra spending money, he breaks out the camera and knows he can make $500-1,000 in a single weekend.

The point: Neither of these guys had formal training as photographers. They took classes, watched videos, and practiced, sure. But if you can learn how to create good photographs and whom to sell them to, you can turn a fun photo hobby into a viable income stream. An income you can take with you anywhere in the world - whether you do it full-time, part-time, or even just on vacation.

To learn more about this Extra Income opportunity, Lori and her team at The Photographer's Life have prepared a special report. It will give you more information about earning income from photography and tell you more about Lori's program.

The report will tell you about:

The kinds of photos that sell best … whether its people, places, objects or landscapes there's a market to fit the type of photographs you enjoy taking … Where to sell your images … and where you can get started to make your first sales … How to earn money from photos that you already have on your computer … Three important tips for getting started … Advice on what kind of camera is best for you straight from our photography professionals … Stories from regular people who have turned their interest in photography into a way to earn money … And much more …

Best, Mark * Editor's Note: This extra income opportunity was originally scheduled to be released later in the program. But I've had a lot of emails from you urging me to release it earlier because it sounds fun, exciting, and we're eager to start. So here it is!

The special photography report is a great resource for starting on this opportunity. You will receive this report next week.

I will also send you my own report explaining how I got this email from where I submitted pictures I found on my computer from a trip

I took to Arunachal Pradesh 3 years ago, with no intention of ever selling them!

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club


The Photography Report - How (and Where) to Sell Simple Photos for Cash

To learn more about this Extra Income Opportunity, Lori and her team at The Photographer's Life have prepared a special report. It will give you more information about earning income from photography and tell you more about Lori's program.

Click here to receive it now.

If you are interested in pursuing this Extra Income opportunity, I recommend you invest in Lori's program. There's no better way to get up to speed on taking salable photographs. Here is a bit of what you will learn:

The difference between a snapshot and a $5,000 photograph: five tricks you can use to bump up sales

The tips you need for shooting in a variety of locations and situations- beach scenes, night photography, snow, rain, sunsets and sunrises, waterfalls, landscapes, pets, fireworks, sports, street photography, and more

Why the most important asset is not your camera but your eyes. Learn classic principles of composition from great artists, painters, sculptors, and architects… and you'll never take an average photo again

How to use your camera's built-in features to ensure you get great lighting in every image. The Average Joe doesn't even know these exist!

Why your camera's automatic mode will work for some pictures but will leave others looking washed-out or too dark-and what you can do about it

11 things I bet you didn't know your little camera could do

How to use natural light-and window lighting-to snap salable product photos of everyday household items

The press photographer's trick to taking sharp photos-even among a crowd of pushing fans (it's real easy and will help you snap perfectly focused pictures in crowded situations)

Advice on buying the right equipment (if and when you upgrade)… how to set your fees and present your work professionally

How to encourage editors to buy more than one photo at a time: Master the secret to writing great photo captions. These are tricks that will set you apart from the amateurs, giving you a much- better-than-average chance of getting your photos bought.

Best, Mark


Editor's Note:

This report itself has a lot of great information that can get you started right away. In addition I will also send you a special report on how to get your pictures on stock photo sites next week.

At the end of this report you will find information about Lori's paid program that Mark has mention. It's a great program, like he said, and it is for those of you want to take this idea further. You can also get in touch with me if you have any further questions about it.

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club ,[Report available in Wealth Builders Club folder in Documents]

The Flash Guide for Stock Photography

What are stock photography sites? Stock photography sites are online sites that collect and sell inexpensive royalty-free images to anyone who wants or needs them. Buyers can be anyone - magazines, book publishers, interior decorators, home architects, website developers, marketing companies, even bloggers looking for pictures to display on their websites.

How can you upload images on these sites? Stock photo sites collect images from 'contributors'. Contributors can be anyone, anywhere in the world, who has pictures they would like to sell - people like you and me. Stock sites accept your pictures based on 2 criteria - need and quality. Need is not such a big issue - more about how to get photos approved in the section below.

How do they pay? Once your pictures are approved they are uploaded on the site - people can then buy them. When someone buys and downloads your picture, the site pays you royalty. The payment for a single picture can vary from Rs. 15 - Rs. 300 (about 25 cents to $5). The site collects your royalty as credit and when it reaches a minimum amount - anywhere from 1500 to 5000 rupees, depending on the site, then you can request a payout.

Think about what that means if you have 100 photos up on a site? Even if you make just Rs. 50 on a photo each month, that's 5000 rupees - and all you did was upload. And the best part is you can upload the same picture on multiple sites - I have included a list of ten proven sites at the end of this document.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves - first you need to get that many pictures approved and accepted on the sites. Then, you need to wait a few months before your pictures get noticed and start selling. Finally, if you really want to be successful, you need to find alternative ways of marketing your pictures - to create your own audience.

The world is your market. Stock photography brings this enormous market right to your doorstep. If you are prepared to learn a little bit about the stock photography business, with a little patience and effort this will become an opportunity where you can make more than a decent income.

In this report I will address:

How to Get Pictures Approved How to Make Your Pictures Sell List of Best Stock Sites

How to Get Pictures Approved

Quick Tips: Don't give up if you get rejected the first time. Read forums on the stock sites you want to join - each has its own peculiarities. Look at the best seller photos and come up with different angles/versions of those. Have a diverse portfolio, but have your own style/niche to try to stand out. Keep learning - there are a tonne of workshops, free online classes, etc. Join photo clubs to keep the passion of photography going, and to keep taking more photos to uploads. Know the basics - Try to learn the very basics of photography. Those concepts which Mark had shared in his original essay. Light and exposure, focus, and composition. Just a few simple concepts really - but ones that can dramatically improve your approval rate.

Critique your own pictures honestly - Look for imperfections at full size -these will get your picture rejected. Every single image you submit to a stock site should be inspected at 100% by you. Even if the photo looks perfect at a small resolution it can be blurry/grainy etc. in full size. If you submit too many pictures that are rejected, you will ruin your approval rate, and lower your earnings.

Do some basic editing: This step is easier than it sounds. Basic editing simply means cropping, adjusting colour, sharpening images, etc. In most photo editing software you can do all of the above with the click of a button. Often there is a button called Auto Fix or One-click fix, and just by clicking it the computer will adjust colour, exposure, etc. Sometimes it will even give you multiple enhanced options and you just have to pick the best looking one. I always do an auto colour enhance before I submit. For some reason my pictures always look a bit washed out at first - and enhancing makes the colors really come alive.

Note: I have used a regular compact Canon auto camera for all my pictures. Nothing fancy at all. See my uploaded images here

I have also included some one-click editing examples below. These are very low resolutions so are not good, but will give you an idea. Editing software you can use:

- Microsoft Photo Editor which usually comes free with the computer is good and easy to use - used for examples below (Windows)

- Pixelmator & can be found online - both are incredibly user-friendly (Windows)

- GIMP is the best free editing software (comparable to Adobe Photoshop) and will be especially useful if you learn more about editing.

- For Mac I use the iPhoto that comes free with the computer.

Figure 1: Original Picture Figure 2: One Click Auto Edit

Figure 3: Original Picture

Figure 4: After One-click Black and White Edit

Read the contributors manuals for each site - They will explain the requirements of size and quality you need. To check file size and image size and resolution right-click on the image, and click on properties.

Remove any recognizable logo - In addition to people, you also need property releases for recognizable buildings. And no recognizable logos of any kind are allowed. Images should be retouched to remove any recognizable logos, trademarks, vehicle license plates, copyrighted products or other intellectual property, if necessary.

Write good descriptions and keywords - With each photo you must submit keywords to make it searchable. Look at your image and think about what obvious words describe it. Put those down as keywords first. Then - look at your image again, but this time instead of descriptive words think of abstract ideas, feelings, or concepts that it conveys. For example in an image of a golden Buddha statue - you would include the obvious words Buddha, statue, gold, but you should also include the concepts of peace, spirituality, worship, landmark, etc - things that the image clearly conveys.

However, be careful not to go too abstract - if the keywords don't connect your images might be rejected. Single words separated by commas work best. Also, search engines only search for keywords, not titles or descriptions, so if there are important words or phrases in your title or description include these in your keywords as well.

How to Make Your Pictures Sell

Consider giving free images - Some stock sites have the option to give your images free sometimes. While this may not seem like a very good idea at first, it actually is. The free section gets a lot of traffic which showcases your premium portfolios and leads to sales.

Research images that sell - Most sites have a list of popular images, or a list of what they want. Make sure you know what sells to get more sales. Here are some ideas. If your image is not marketable you might get this rejection. However, not to worry - different sites have different criteria for acceptance.

Popular Images That Sell:

People - all stock photo sites want images of people in all shape, or forms - people running, eating, thinking , smiling, children playing etc. They ar starving for people pictures. But there is a catch.

Pictures of people must be accompanied by a 'model release' - which means the model in the pictures has to sign a document allowing you to upload the picture. So you can't upload pictures of strangers - but friends and family are always helpful in this case.

Management - Images depicting anything business-related - HR, Leadership Innovation, Training, Communication - all the business buzz words are usually a huge hit, probably because PowerPoint Presentations are such a popular management tool and they always need interesting images to bring them to life.

Healthy - fitness, outdoor activities, diet-related images always seem to be pretty popular.

Food - Pictures of exotic food and fruits seem to be a big hit - and of course all Indian food is hugely popular around the world

Focus on the larger sites -The process of uploading and keywording images can be very tedious so direct your energies to the sites that will give you the biggest returns. Find a list of proven sites at the end of this report.

Find a niche - There are two strategies for making money one is with a wide range of diverse images, or a wide selection of very specific images - for example just images of animals doing funny things. If you want your work to really stand out, the latter idea, developing a niche - will help you beat the competition and make significant sales. You can just try a few and see which one ends up being a hit. For example, I happen to have some scuba diving pictures that I uploaded. Now every time I go diving I will take pictures specifically with this purpose, and hopefully this will become my niche.

Market from outside: On your website, on your email signature,

9 Sites that Accept Stock Photography Submissions

Big Stock Photo

Quick Tip: Some online stock photo agencies charge you a fee to upload your photos. I do not recommend these as there are many proven sites that let you upload for free, like teh ones on this list. And once you start making money you can always choose other avenues Over 6 million stock photos

Sign up for a free account, read the tutorial, and take Bigstock's “photographer test.” Once you pass (it's very easy), you can start uploading photos for approval right away. Wait to see which of your photos are approved, then add keywords, titles, and descriptions.

With, you will earn $0.50 cents (Rs. 30) for every credit that a customer spends on your image, up to $3m (Rs. 180) per download. If you allow customers to print your image on products such as posters, greeting cards or any other products, you will receive a special licensing commission at 35% of the sale. You can ask to be paid when your balance reaches $30 (Rs 1800).

Shutter Stock

Over 16 million images

Sign up for a free Shutterstock account. Read the image requirements and submission guidelines. Send in your 10 best photos. If at least seven are accepted, you're good to go. If Shutterstock accepts six or fewer, you have to wait a month and try again.

With, you will earn $0.25 (about Rs. 15) cents per download of your image until you have reached $500 in lifetime earnings, then you will earn 33 cents going up to 38. The reason that the royalty rates for images at are lower than other stock photography sites is because they sell subscriptions to customers who download many images. But this also means more images will sell. You can request a payout when your balance reaches $75 (Rs. 4500).

IStock Photo

Over 7 million image files

Sign up for a free account and read the “Stock Photographer Training Manual”, take a quick test. Send in three test shots. Even if they're rejected at first they'll tell you why and give you another chance. If you get rejected three times, iStock will stop you from uploading more photos for several months before you can try again. So after the second rejection take a look at what's going wrong before you carry on.

With, you will earn a royalty rate of 15% for each download of your image. If you have had at least 250 downloads and a minimum 50% approval rating, you can choose to make your exclusive agent so that you will get a higher royalty rate of 22% to 45% per download. (that means you only sell your pictures here - this is something you an consider at a later stage).They also accepts audio and video contributions. You can request a payout when your balance reaches $100 (Rs. 6000).


Over 26 million stock images

Read the contributor contract and sign up for a free membership to sell images. Send in four of your best images for review and approval by signing in, clicking on “My Alamy” at the top right of the page,and then clicking on “Upload images” under “Organize images.” An email will tell you if you are approved or not. It's one of the better paying agencies 60% royalty fee on all of your images.


Over 5 million images

Sign up for a free account. Then sign in and proceed to the Photographer Application. Then, you'll upload three images as examples according to their size requirements. Once you're approved, you can start uploading your images for sale.

This is the agency I find most useful - they are very clear with their feedback why they have rejected any files. You can make corrections and upload them again, as many as you need. They also have a very quick turnaround time - one day. Usually I only upload files to other sites if they have been approved here. When you hit $50 (Rs. 3000) in income, you can get paid.

Over 11 million royalty-free images online.

Sign up for a free account, and choose sign up to be a photographer/contributor. Sign in and agree to the terms, then upload 10 photos for inspection, using the online form. According to size specifications. You should get an email in two days telling you if you've been approved

You're paid 50% of each image sale. If you refer buyers, you'll receive 15% of the price they pay for credits for three years. If you refer photographers, you'll get 10% of their image sales for six months.


Open a free account. Once you've uploaded your images, you can add description and keyword to your images. Once your images are ready, follow the prompts to submit your images. If you need help submitting your images, check out their Image Upload Guide. When your account balance reaches $50 USD (Rs. 3000) you can request a payout. This is another site I really like because of how much helpful information they have.

Indian Sites

Images bazaar & Shot India

Create your profile on and upload pictures (starting with 3 samples for approval) with description keywords. Your images will sell on this site and also, if they qualify, will sell on the parent site You cannot directly upload to imagesbazaar. When your picture sells, you will earn royalty of 50% of the selling price. See more info here.

Also see this video of the founder Sandeep Maheshwari.

India Picture

Sign up for a free account as a photographer. Go to Work With Us - Become a Contributor. Upload samples and wait for approval. You get a 50% royalty.

Additional Resources

Some free videos compiled from Mark's reports & other useful sites. Aperture (an adjustable opening in an optical instrument, such as a camera or telescope, that limits the amount of light passing through a lens or onto a mirror) Shutter speed ISO (in digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor) Understanding how these three things work together. A free course on the Art of Photography. There are loads of free ideas on the Photographer's Life starting with this. And here too.

Extra Income Opportunity #3: Become an E-book Author and Publisher

There is an 80% chance that the extra-income strategy I'm about to talk about will interest you.

In an interview in the Indian Express Jon P Fine, Director of Author and Publishing Relations at said, “India is one of the top 10 publishing markets in the world and also the third largest from the English language standpoint. Couple these facts with the incredible story-telling tradition that comes out of the country and, I think, it is set for an incredible explosion.”

I'm sure a large number of you dream of writing a book. As the saying goes, everyone has a book inside them.

That's today's topic: how to write and/or publish an e-book.

I have written 20 books so far. I found publishers for (or published myself) 16 of them. Four of those 16 sold fewer than 5,000 copies. Four sold between 5,000 and 10,000 copies. Six sold an average of 25,000 copies, and two sold 50,000 copies.

Selling 50,000 copies of a book is nothing for Stephen King or Malcolm Gladwell. But it is very rare. Less than one-tenth of 1% of all the books published hit that mark. Those books - Automatic Wealth and Ready, Fire, Aim - were New York Times and Wall Street Journal best sellers.

You'd think that having a best seller would put you on easy street. In fact, the biggest advance a publisher ever paid me for one of my books was $40,000 (about 20 lac rupees). And as far as I know (I haven't checked), I never earned a single cent in royalties.

The point is: It is very unlikely that you can make serious money by writing a book. But that doesn't mean you can't make some money. So if you think you might want to write and publish books, this month's Extra Income Opportunity may appeal to you.

The traditional book-selling market made it very difficult for writers to make any money. The reason: The vast majority (something between 90% and 98%) of published books sold fewer than 100 copies. That meant that book publishers lost money on more than nine out of every 10 books they marketed. They couldn't afford to pay big advances for books, so they didn't.

Publishers made money on the super sellers-the books that sold hundreds of thousands or even millions of copies. Those authors got rich. The rest starved.

That has all changed in recent years. The advent of the Internet and Internet-based businesses such as Amazon has rendered conventional publishing models obsolete. That's bad for most book publishers, but it's not bad for you as an aspiring writer. You can make a lot more money today than you ever could in the past.

The easiest and most lucrative way to publish a book today is to do it yourself. And the cheapest way to do that is to deliver your book electronically-as an e-book.

That's what I want to talk about in this lesson: how to write and/or publish your own e-book. I'm going to run you through the process, step by step, and then I'm going to introduce you to a program that can fill in all of the details.

The Economics of E-book Publishing

Let's begin with the income opportunity this strategy affords you.

In the old days, an Indian best-selling author whose last book sold 50,000 copies might expect to get an advance of Rs 2 lacs - 20 lacs on his next book. At 20 lacs that's a net fee of Rs 40 a book.

If you publish 50,000 copies of an e-book today, you can make a lot more money than that. That's because a publisher has to share the money your book made with a big staff and fees to 99 other less successful writers. So if you cut out the traditional publisher that much more money goes directly to you.

As an e-book publisher, you get to keep between 50% and 75% of the cover price. So your net compensation for the same 50,000 books would be between 75 lacs and a crore! Of course, it's not realistic to expect that you will publish 50,000 copies. Take a look at the following schedule to see how much you can make:

10,000 copies approx Rs 10- 15 lacs 5,000 copies approx Rs 6- 7.5 lacs 4,000 copies approx Rs 5- 6.5 lacs 3,000 copies approx Rs 4- 5.5 lacs 2,000 copies approx Rs 3- 4 lacs 1,000 copies approx Rs 2-3 lacs

Even if you sold only 500 copies, you'd still make between Rs 75,000- 1 lac.

That's not too shabby-if you like the idea of writing and publishing e-books.

The ABCs of Book Writing

Let's talk about what it takes to write a book. First, a few questions that may come to mind:

Question: Do you need a degree in English and training to write a good book? Answer: No.

Both Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi, best-selling Indian authors, had backgrounds in the banking sector before they became full-time writers.

Question: It's not easy to write a book. Some people take 10 years to write a single novel. Is it realistic to expect to be able to write at least one book per year? Answer: Yes.

Most authors are not only writing a book a year, but they are also writing in addition to their full-time jobs. It's only when their writing careers take off and become lucrative enough, do they quit their full-time jobs.

Bob Bly, another author friend of mine, has published more than 60 books in the last 20 years. That is an average of three books per year. Before the Internet, his books were long-250-350 pages. But he had a formula that allowed him to write them part time, while he earned a living as a copywriter and marketing consultant.

Right now, I'm working on 12 books simultaneously, and writing books is very much a part-time gig for me.

One of the benefits of e-books is that the public's expectations of them are different. They don't have to be thick and glossy anymore to be considered valuable. An author can sell an 80-page book that provides good-quality information for Rs 750-1500 through the Internet. Refunds for books of this price are usually very low - 2- 4% is the range.

Question: What does it take to write a successful e-book? Answer: The first and most important requirement is knowledge. You have to know the subject about which you are writing. Usually, this means writing about something you've been doing for many years. It could be marketing. It could be cooking. It could be about Indian history.

Brian Tracy puts it this way: “You must know 10 words for every word you write, or the reader will know that you are talking off the top of your head.”

For instance, if you want to write on success, you must already be successful. If you write on money, you must already be rich.

A Formula for Writing E-books

Later on in this essay, I'll recommend the best program we've found that will teach you the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing e-books. But before I direct you to it, I want to give you some of my own ideas-things I've discovered about writing well and quickly since I wrote and published my first book, Information Peking (Macmillan), about 30 years ago.

Begin With a Tipping-Point Idea

Best-selling non-fiction books usually have, at their core, one really good and interesting idea. This should be about an issue people are already thinking about. It should present a solution that feels different but right. In other words, it should be 80% expected and 20% surprising.

To find that “tipping-point” idea, you must do a lot of current reading. Read the best-selling authors and journalists in the field. Find out what they are writing about. Also read the reviews of these books, taking note of praise and criticism. Read through chat sites. Get involved yourself, if you like.

Your objective is to find out what the current conversation is about. What are people worried or excited about? What questions are people asking? What are the worries keeping them up at night?

This research will get you close. By the time you've spent 40 or 50 hours working like this, you'll have dozens of ideas that you'll want to write about. And if you've taken good notes, you'll have hundreds of interesting facts and phrases that you will be able to use in writing your book.

Now you must identify the single, captivating idea on which you will base your book. It should be new in some way. You can't merely copy someone else's idea. You need a twist that makes your idea just a little bit smarter or more useful or more memorable.

I have written about this process of finding the “big idea” several times. If you would like to read more about it, you can go here.

Once you have identified your tipping point idea, you need to write it out as a 2,000-5,000-word essay. Begin with the main idea. State it simply and directly. Then follow that with three to five very good facts that prove it. Put your best facts first. Then list the most likely arguments someone might make to refute your idea. One by one, refute them. Then restate your big idea.

That one essay will give you a very good skeleton for your book. You can use it to structure the following chapters. The first chapter explains the big idea. The second chapter provides the first and most impressive proof. Subsequent chapters advance other proofs. And then you have a chapter for the refutation of each major objection. And, finally, one last chapter that restates your case.

Later, you can use the original essay you wrote to sell the book. You can find websites that will take it as editorial material and provide their readers with a link to a landing page where you will sell the book.

Essays on Writing

I could write 100 more pages on writing. But I know you don't have the time right now to read them. Instead, please check out these essays on the subject. When you have time, read them. How to Write About Big Ideas How to Come Up with a Big Idea How to Come Up with a Big Idea Part 2

But you can also use that same chapter as an introduction. Many best-selling books use this formula. It seems to work.

Each of the chapters should, if possible, begin with a story. There is no better way to get your reader involved in your idea and open to accepting it than by telling him a story. So when you are doing your research, be sure to jot down or record any illustrative stories you hear. These are golden.

Don't worry about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. There are word-processing programs that can help you with those technicalities. And don't worry about style, either, at this point. You don't need to be a wordsmith to write effectively.

The main things you need are good ideas. If you have them, you don't need to express them in fanciful terms. Simplicity is best. There happens to be a computer program that will help you express your ideas simply. It is called the Flesch-Kincaid (FK) index.

It is a way to measure the readability of your sentences. Your goal is to get an FK score of 8 or less. You will find this difficult if your ideas themselves are not clear. Rewriting your sentences so they achieve an FK score of 8 or below will help you become a master at clarity.

The FK index is easy to use. And it is widely available. (Almost every word processing program can run this index for you automatically.) If you want to learn more about this, go here.

Every chapter of your book should focus on one main idea. You should state that idea early in the chapter and then prove it by giving your reader at least three-and, preferably, a half-dozen-examples that illustrate your point.

Some authors spend years writing a single book. But if your goal is to create extra income for yourself, you don't need to spend that much time. In the beginning-when you are not used to writing-you will spend lots of time learning. But as soon as you get the knack, you should be able to write a book every six months.

However good you become at writing, you will always benefit by having a good editor look at your copy. Finding good editors is not as difficult as it may seem. There are hundreds of online magazines and websites on writing that advertise editors. They don't charge all that much. When you find someone who “gets” your ideas, it will make everything so much easier.

I would also recommend three books I've written on the skill of writing advertising copy. They are Great Leads, The Architecture of Persuasion, and Copy Logic! for all three These books focus on writing advertising copy. But the principles involved are exactly the same as the principles involved in writing best-selling non-fiction writing.

How to Market Your Book

After you get started writing-but before you've finished your book-you should start to think about selling it.

Thanks to the Internet, there are dozens of ways to market and sell your books these days. Some are more efficient than others.

If your goal is to sell a ton of books, you should consider becoming a recognized expert and a guru in your field.

This is much easier today than ever-again, thanks to the Internet. The way to do this is to gradually develop a list of people who might be happy to buy all of your books. You can do this by starting a blog in which your write about your topic on a regular basis.

You can write just 100 words per day. Or you can write 500. You can write criticism, book reviews, articles, random thoughts, whatever. Just stay on topic.

Then take a course on Internet marketing to build a list of readers. Since your content is free, it shouldn't be too difficult to build a list of hundreds and then thousands of readers. To subsidize that website, you can sell advertising or, better yet, sell little reports that you've written. Thousands-no, hundreds of thousands-of people are doing this right now all over the world.

Use Industry Expertise

There are a number of books and programs that should be helpful. Here is a selection you may wish to check out: How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit The Prolific Writing System: How you can become a successful prolific writer in any niche Writing Tips: 50 Writing Tips On How To Write Like A Pro Today - Make Writing Easy Writing E-books for Fun and Profit

This strategy won't happen in weeks, but it will build month by month while you are busy with the rest of your life. Then, before you know it, you will have a file of readers who see you as an expert on your subject matter. These people will prove to be very good buyers.

You can also extend your prospect list by making “affiliate deals” with other Internet publishers in the same industry. These deals are very common practice today. You give them the liberty to publish your blog entries, and they do the same for you. Then you each advertise to the other's lists.

As you develop a substantial file of readers, you can reach out to other publishers who have similarly sized files. If they are smart, they will be happy to agree to “cross promote” your files. You publish their essays to your files. And they do the same for you.

As the income starts flowing, you can build your list through pay-per-click (PPC) and search-engine optimization (SEO) marketing. There are dozens of good programs available on the Internet to teach you these strategies.

These are just a few of the most common ways to market your book on the Internet. But I want to tell about the most powerful way to market your e-book in conjunction with the strategies I just told you about.

The Kindle Revolution

So what is the best way to market your e-book? It's Amazon's Kindle platform.

The Kindle revolution has begun, and it's making many people wealthy. Kindle is Amazon's electronic/digital e-book reader. Amazon first introduced the Kindle in 2007. Fast- forward to 2011… Last year, there were more than 1 billion Kindle devices in the world. The market for them is growing at a blistering pace. E-book sales grew more than 117% in 2011 alone, and revenues topped $2 billion.

It's not just Kindles. Demand for devices like iPads, smartphones, or other tablets has soared. And people want to fill their mobile devices with content.

Last year, Amazon announced it sells more e-books on its Kindle device than it sells all other books combined (hard and soft cover).

Think about this for a minute. Amazon, the world's largest bookstore, sells more digital books than physical books! Think about the opportunity this presents for authors.

Once you finish writing your e-book, you can instantly access Amazon's millions of Kindle customers.

Amazon also has more than 200 million credit cards on file. When Amazon customers search for other products, Kindle e-books appear in the results right next to physical products. Amazon is desperate to become the dominant player in the digital publishing space. So right now, Amazon lets e-book publishers keep as much as 70% of profits from sales.

There's never been an easier and more lucrative time in history to publish and sell your own books.

So how can you get a piece of Amazon's Kindle platform?

The easiest way to get going is to create an account on (Amazon). This site will allow you to download a Microsoft Word template that will make it easy to format your book, including creating a table of contents, index, and even designing a cover.

This will be a good first step to get you started. And you can then go to Amazon to market your book. You pick a price - I recommend $2.99-9.99 (Rs 15-600) if you want to make a good royalty - and Amazon will help you through the rest of the process.

After Amazon formats the book, you will get a “page proof,” which will allow you to see how the book will look in printed form. If you have changes, you can make them. After it's as you like it, all you have to do is push a button and then, within a few days, Amazon will publish your book!

Putting your book on Amazon will start the sales process, but you shouldn't expect to make many sales simply by having your book listed. You have to get people to look for your book. There are many, many ways to do that.

One idea I've already mentioned. Take the essay you've written-the one that outlines your “big idea”-and shop it around to websites that publish information relevant to your idea.

Offer free rights to “one-time” use of your essay as long as they link to your Amazon listing. If you are good at doing this, you could easily generate dozens, even hundreds, of sales every time your essay is published.

You should also send out news about your new book to friends, family members, and colleagues. Ask them not only to purchase the book but also to post reviews of it on Amazon. Good reviews (and most of them will be good) will boost sales.

You can send copies of your books to book reviewers and critics. Be sure to send a short but strong letter explaining why your book would be of interest to their readers.

There are hundreds of Internet radio shows that cover all sorts of topics. These shows are always hungry for “content.” Those that pertain to your topic should be very willing to give you an interview.

Now, if this process sounds overwhelming, don't worry. Our research team has uncovered the best program on the market to teach you everything you need to know about using Amazon's Kindle platform to sell your e-books.

It's Ryan Deiss' Number One Book System. Ryan and his team will get you selling 100 e-books per day. Even if you don't meet that goal, here are some reasons why checking out his program is worthwhile…

The Number One Book System program takes you step by step through what you need to know about writing your book, publishing it through Amazon, and advertising it effectively.

It's the difference between wandering your way into a forest at night with nothing other than the clothes on your back or having a flashlight, map, GPS, food, and some water.

You'll learn how to select the perfect markets on Amazon, how to create content, how to design a best-selling cover, how to format your work to fit Kindle, and how to list your books for optimum search.

You will have the guidance of an expert. For example, Ryan Deiss wrote an e-book titled How to Purify Water. He got 11,981 free downloads in just five days… from an obscure and boring topic on filtering water.

With Ryan's program, you can also network with other self-publishers. Everyone who has bought this program can contact each other through the club's forum. You can ask these people to edit, revise, download, and review your e-book.

Thousands of people have used this program.

Writer Scott S said he “can't recall the last time I was able to say that I got WAY, WAY more value than I paid for. Absolute genius.”

We wanted to be sure this program worked, so we tested Deiss' method ourselves. We put together a short e- book of my essays and posted it, as the Number One Book System recommends.

In the first three weeks, with minimal effort and no paid advertising, we received 976 downloads. Now, most of these were free downloads as part of the recommended initial promotion period that Amazon offers. But we became one of the top 10 best sellers out of all of the books on Business and Investment on Amazon.

We'll keep you updated on the progress of our e-book as we move to the next stage of generating sales.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the Number One Book System program here.

What if You Can't Write?

You don't have to give up your dream of publishing a book if you simply can't write. There are several ways to make money by publishing books without actually writing them.

One clever way is to republish public domain books. Public domain books are those for which the copyrights have expired. You may not think that books that are no longer copyrighted could be sold, but you'd be wrong. I happen to work with a very clever publisher who is doing that right now. (Visit Laissez Faire Books for more information.)

Another thing you can do is license books that other writers have written. I have done this recently with several writers I admire whose books haven't yet been published. I created a book publishing company called Cap & Bells Press. We have published one book already (a book of my poetry) and are in the process of publishing a half-dozen more.

If you have a good idea for a book but don't want to write it yourself, you can commission an author to write it. There are many websites where you can find such authors. ( is one, is another) Most of these people work cheap. And some of them are very good.

Again, these are just a few of the many strategies you can use to realize your dream. If you start now, in less than a year, you can be a published writer or a publisher of writers and start enjoying the cash flow that comes from Internet publishing.

Best, Mark


Editor's Note:

There are several publishing houses in India, both small and big, where you can explore publishing options. Many offer self-publishing at various prices - from as little as a few thousand rupees to a few lacs - depending on the services included i.e. editing, marketing, cover design, etc.

Although e-book publishing requires no investment - since no printing costs are involved - successful authors recommend that a little investment should be made to make your book professional - editing/cover design/typesetting… a minimum of Rs. 15,000 can get you started.

When author Mainak Dhar self-published 'Zombiestan' on Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing in 2011, he paid for an editor and cover design. He also purchased an ISBN number, because it gave the exercise 'a professional touch'. He now has over 10 books on the Amazon bestseller list.

But all authors will tell you to be patient. Books take time and effort to start selling, and unless you are a stroke of genius and incredibly lucky you will not become a millionaire. But you will make that extra income and will get the coveted label of published author!

Some self-publishing options in India: (Flipkart partner).

WBC India's Report on Social Media

Editor's Note:

Several of the Extra Income and business ideas we share with you through Wealth Builders Club India include providing services, or selling products online. We truly believe that word of mouth is the strongest and most effective way to get clients and begin making a reputation for yourself. However, we also strongly believe that a Social Media presence can boost your sales, establish your reputation, build brand awareness, and make it easier for customers to find and contact you.

Most young entrepreneurs are optimising social media to build visibility for their brands with low investments of time and money. We realised that you could use some of these tips too, (if you're not already doing so) to promote your Extra Income venture or business idea.

Ritika Bajaj, our entrepreneurial editor has spades of experience in this area, so she created this concise report especially for you. It gives an overview of the various social media platforms available and how to manage them effectively in your journey into entrepreneurship. It is easy. Anyone can do it. And anyone who hopes to sell anything online definitely should.

So go through the guide, get online, and please write to us with any questions or clarifications.

Thanks, Anisa Virji

Managing Editor, WBC India


From Social to Successful (S2S) Designing your Online Personality

From tips on content creation to how frequently you should change updates, this reports gives you a comprehensive account on the best way to create and use an online presence for your brand and business. By following this guide you can create an online presence for yourself within minutes.

This guide will address:

Why to use Social Media Key Benefits How to Get Started Creating Good Content Tracking Your Metrics Blogging

At the end you will also find a handy guide to the most popular social media networking sites and how to use them.

Why Use Social Media

Social media works on the basic premise of networking - the common belief that “who you know” often supersedes “what you know”. Where earlier people used offline avenues like parties, events, meetings and business conferences to talk about their professional life and businesses, today people use the internet to connect with others and do exactly the same thing.

A social network comprises of friends, friends of friends, family, colleagues, work associates and more. As an entrepreneur and a professional, these platforms work very well to tell people about the latest events in your life and business.

The biggest marketing advantage of an online presence is that it increases the reach of a product or service much faster and enables direct conversations with the end consumer. The response to any new product or service is immediate and if followers like what you're doing, they will set off a chain of “likes”.

You may get followed by thousands on Twitter, your Facebook likes could go into several hundreds and your Linkedin connections will read your expert views on a particular topic.

In fact, Pepsi doubled its Facebook fans from 8,181,075 to 17,426,884 in a year! According to Noel Gill, in his article Social Media Facts of 2013 - Facebook, Twitter & Youtube Infographs George Smith, Pepsi's social strategistsaid: “It's nice to be able to have that direct conversation with people, and not have to rely on a specific media channel to push this, or buy TV constantly to push that message”.

For absolutely free, or very cheap, you can use the same marketing strategy that Pepsi is using. Social media brings the world to your brand, instead of you having to put your brand out there in newspapers and hoardings.

Key Benefits of Social Networking

Communicate better with customers: Social Media platforms are direct mediums from which you can have conversations with your end users. You can also use them to socialise and build a network.

Save costs on marketing and advertising: Unlike traditional advertising you don't need to book ad space in dailies or magazines and pay heavily for them. You can start a business page or your own personal blog for free and launch your products and services at no cost.

Position brand and services: Social media becomes an easy way to position your brand and all that it stands for. From your brand logo to the brand values, you will be surprised by the brand recall an online presence will create.

Increase web traffic: By monitoring your social media activities through various metrics and analytics, you can gauge exactly how much traffic is coming to your website and how many of these are translating into sales.

Build search engine rankings: The more useful and compelling content you put on the internet, the more you will be searched. Intelligent insights, manufacturing tips, your own views on issues go a long way in bringing up your name on various search engines. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO helps you tag keywords that will come up in relevant searches.

Experience customer satisfaction in real time: Social media is a chance to get instant feedback from your customers. Any query can be replied to instantly and you can build a more personalised relationship with your consumers. They will now be talking to the face behind the brand rather than customer care.

Generate leads for potential business: By using some paid services on Google and Facebook, you can actually generate more targeted leads. A unique search facility identifies consumer behaviour and directs them to your site. You can also post your online ads and listings on other relevant sites. For example: You could cross-promote chocolates on a gifting site.

Gain a competitive advantage: It may be a clutter out there on cyber space, but not having a presence means you're as good as non-existent. Creating a robust online personality will not only give more visibility, but may also eventually enhance your profits. Just being there and having a conversation with consumers, means having an edge over those who are not online.

How to Get Started

Choose your platform: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ seem to be the most popular with users. All these give you an opportunity to post updates, photos and links to videos or other sites. If you think your product or business works best with pictures, sign up on Pinterest or Instagram, and to show live videos have a presence on YouTube or Vine. If you are a research house or corporate with loads of PPTs and surveys, use Slide Share.

Create a page: The first part of creating an online personality is by creating a visually WOW page. Be it your personal Facebook page, your personal blog or even Twitter, what matters is how creatively you spice it up with design and content. The key to doing this is by keeping it as personalised as possible. Let it speak of you and your brand. Put up your best pictures, give enough content for people to know you and your brand better, and keep updating and retaining the novelty.

Build a fan base: Your next step is to grow your contacts and fan base. Add friends of friends, colleagues, invite customers to like your page through online promotions like e-mail blasts and put your social links on every collateral. From visiting cards to hoardings, companies are splashing their social media presence through every avenue they get. On a business page on Facebook, you can even promote your page by paying for the number of fans you want to add onto your page.

Create interesting content: Each social media platform has different dos and don'ts for its content, which we will explore further below in the report. Content for each has to be tailored differently. But the general rule is to be original, be positive, give enough information, and keep the tone interactive.

Check and compare with competitors: It's a good idea to keep track of what other brands like yours are doing to increase their social media presence. You may get some interesting ideas and learnings just by observing their interactions with their own followings. Many brands use interactive surveys, games and regularly post on different general purpose issues just to keep the conversation alive.

Use analytics to monitor the buzz: And to track just exactly how much impact your social media presence is having on your brand and its sales, use one of the many monitoring software available and create a dashboard that is customised for you. Such analytical software helps you track everything from site visits, to demographics, to the geography that is responding to your content. So you know exactly who your customers are and where they are. You can also learn what kind of content seems to be getting the maximum responses and even the number of conversions your site has had. By conversions it is meant the number of people who actually bought products or made enquiries through any of your social platforms.

Social Media Stats

Social Media Stats for 2013 by Digital Buzz Blog states that:

4.2 billion people access social media sites from their mobiles Use of social media has generated double the leads from other avenues like trade shows and traditional media and tele-marketing Women check out brands more than men on social media 23 percent plus marketers globally are investing in blogging and social media More than 42 percent of web users consult social media before making a purchase

Social Media Stats for India - 2014:

205 million Indian internet users 86 percent of Indian web users visit a social networking site 40 million check online reviews 57 million want brand related information 3900+ Indian advertisers ran online ad campaigns in September 2013 10 percent of India uses a smart phone Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are among the top 3 social networking sites

Creating Good Content

In an in-depth article titled 40 Social Media Marketing Benefit Related Tips, Heidi Cohen states how “To support loyal fans, you need to be present and engaged on social media. This means regular interactions.” The best way to ensure you have regular interactions with your followers is by providing them with regular and informative content. Keep all conversations open and encourage more users and followers to talk to you openly and positively. Following are some pointers to help you in developing your own unique content:

Give clear information: From details on you, your company, your products and contact details, to updates on new services, provide any information that you think will benefit your followers and consumers.

Maintain brevity: Keep status updates as crisp and relevant as possible. A post on something topical, a line on your thought for the day, a picture that says it better, all help to keep the audience engaged without putting in too much effort.

Start a dialogue: The idea of social media is to have a conversation. Post questions, invite people to comment on your updates or throw in the odd survey that helps you get more information on your consumers. Ask them to share their own views on the product and even post their own pictures. And remember to keep the tone casual, chatty and positive.

Keep sharing: Sharing of information is in the DNA of social media. Share your own views, links to other important and interesting articles and websites, repost videos or pictures that you like, or just about anything you feel will help your followers. And please don't hesitate to share other people's work, because paying it forward will come back to you full circle on social media. As you promote and 'like' other people's work, they will like yours too.

Make it visual: Colourful and bright pictures, short videos and presentations all help in putting forth your messages across in a more creative and captivating way. Research has shown that including a visual element increases the viewership to more than 90 percent. Check out an interesting infographic that states the same:

Keep a schedule for updates: If you want to time your updates to catch that peak traffic hour when most people are surfing on their phones or during lunch hour when office goers browse Facebook, be sure to schedule your updates correctly. Facebook, for example, has a scheduling calendar which will post for you even when you're busy. All you need to do is key in your update and choose the time and day to post it. This can be done for the whole week as well. So your weekends can actually be used constructively to plan your social media calendar.

Tracking Your Metrics

➢ Manage various social media

➢ Track social demographics

➢ Consolidate data on one dashboard

➢ Create content through collaboration

➢ Enable different users access for different reasons

➢ Provide reporting and analytical tools

➢ Determine suitable timings for publishing content

The most popular software are: Google Analytics, Sprout Social, HootSuite, Sendible and Cyfe Dashboard. Each of these have their own unique features and can manage a host of metrics. More details on how each software works can be found in an interesting blog by Dan Virgillito: 5 Social Media Dashboard Benefits to Help Marketers

Catch the Blogging Bug

Why Blog: Blogs are being used extensively by most individuals and companies to talk about who they are and what they do. They are personalised pages that are not websites but still give you a glimpse of the culture and ethos of a person, brand or organisation. They are platforms that enable individuals to jot down their own stories and experiences without looking for any external publisher. They sometimes also act as portfolios for your writing and professional knowledge. You can create your own blogging page on any of the sites mentioned below or you could blog via other social media platforms like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google+.

Info: According to statistics, 6.7+ million blog through blogging sites while 12+ million blog through social networking sites. More than 77 percent of internet users read blogs and 23 percent of internet time is spent reading blogs. Some B2B marketers generated 67 percent more leads after using blogs effectively.

Content: Blogs are typically short informative and personalised articles that capture an expert view on any topic. The trick here is to be authentic, give out interesting statistics, ideas and research but to always have that touch of creativity and 'you-ness' in it. Be sure to tag keywords and add categories, so they get captured in Google searches. Add interesting pictures, links to videos or infographics to make it interesting for the reader. Keep the design and content of your page vibrant and easy-to-read. Get yourself noticed and heard!

Top 15 blogging sites: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium, Svbtle, Quora,, Google+, Facebook Notes, SETT, Ghost, Squarespace, Typepad, Posthaven, Linkedin Influencers, The fallen heroes

WBCI's Handy Guide to the most popular social networking sites (in order of importance) and how to use them


Info: According to a recent survey, India alone has over 100 million Facebook users. The world at large has 1.28 billion monthly active users and the count is only growing. More than 2.5 billion pieces of content are shared by a user in a single day source:. And it is one of the best ways to dialogue and communicate with customers without being in their face. Every major or minor business now has a Facebook page.

Content: After you create a profile start posting updates. Simple topical updates of 2-3 lines, YouTube links, pictures, surveys and event announcements can engage consumers on Facebook. Make sure your information is authentic and stirs up conversations. Ask questions, request participation, create a call to action in some way or simply let people share their own views on your page. Because it is picture-heavy you can display your product - whatever it may be.

Frequency: Statistics show that 23 percent of Facebook users log in at least five times a day. Thus you can safely update content between 1-5 times a day.


Info: 300 million+ total users. 18 million Indian users. More than 2 users sign up every second. A majority are graduates and post graduates and in the age group of 35+ years. It is largely a business-centric site, with over 1.5 million professional groups.

Content: It's a place to put up your complete profile/resume. You can get endorsements from all those you've worked with and state exactly what you did at each job. People are recruited through Linkedin and the more professional your content is, the better. You can participate in discussion groups on topics of your expertise and also have a company page to promote your services and HR requirements.

Frequency: Keep your profile as updated as possible. Put up occasional and relevant bits of professional advice. Feel free to blog or take part on group discussions.


Info: 1.6 billion+ total users. 22 million users in India alone. The average users spends 7 minutes a month on Google+. It has a majority of adult users. Brands have had positive conversations with their users, at least 43 percent of the times. It provides an opportunity to create circles of users under different categories. A platform that is growing everyday with many brands collecting huge numbers of active followers. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi use Google+ a lot.

Content: Topical comments, interesting quotes, pictures and videos can be updated here. Animated GIF files make for interesting viewership on Google+

Frequency: Most Google+ users log in atleast once a week. With such a statistic, updating atleast 2-3 times a week should suffice. But if you have more content, feel free to decide what works best for you.


Info: Twitter has 255 million monthly active users, 1 billion+ total users, and 33 million Indian users. 500 million tweets are sent per day.

Content: Most of Twitter followers look for content that makes a statement. Followers follow you for what you say and who you are. Celebrities, authors, media gurus, artistes and other influential leaders have followings that go into hundreds of thousands just by virtue of who they are. Tweets are short statements that communicate a point. To make your tweet popular, write “Please RT” at the end of it. Include links to articles in your tweets to get retweeted. Also use hashtags (#) before important words to be found easily.

Frequency: 46 percent users tweet at least once a day. But if you are a company and one with a lot of information to share, a good number is 30-50 tweets per day.


Info: 15 million users in India. It's a site that is all about discovery and largely covers areas that are of interest to women like décor, fashion, babies, weddings and recipes. Women are the majority of fans here forming 69 percent of the users. Food forms the top category of pins and repins. American brand Nordstrom has the largest following on Pinterest.

Content: Bright and interesting images can be uploaded into the different categories. You can even re-pin images that you find interesting.

Frequency: Upload as many images as you like and simply repin if you think that's easier.


Info: It has more than 1 billion users. 100 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded on the site every minute. 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every day. 40 percent of the traffic comes from mobile phones.

Content: Short or long videos created on various topics, snippets from old and new movies of all genres, music videos, TV shows, just about anything you need to see a video on. Create your own home video on kids, recipes, expert advice, learning tips, subject knowledge and share them with the world. Embed Embed these video links in articles, add these video and the s after article, blogs and presentations and capture your audience's attention.

Frequency: Limitless amount of content can be uploaded here.


Info: Instagram is all about sharing photos and now 15 second videos. More than 16 billion pictures have already been uploaded onto this site. An average user posts atleast 40 photos. It is the favourite social network for site among 23 percent of the youth. Every second almost 8000 pictures are being liked on Instagram. MTV has the largest brand following on Instagram.

Content: Keep the content youthful and trendy. Post funky pictures, short 15-second videos. Add updates with hashtags on keywords.

Frequency: Upload as frequently as you like.

So Get Online Now

So now that you have so many tips to help you build your social media presence, join the social media bandwagon soon. Brainstorm on all the innovative ways you can display and talk about your product and services on these multiple and far-reaching platforms. Devote some time from your busy schedule to understand the workings of these social sharing sites better.

Remember that the results of social media marketing take some time. You will start seeing gains within minutes - likes, friends, recognition, retweets… But keep at it and over time you will build a client base, reputation, and a trusted brand. If you don't have millions to spend on print advertising, social media is your answer. Although there have been some debates in the advertising industry about the benefits of this, a social presence is important - an avenue of marketing that won't go away and cannot be ignored. Like it or unlike it, you better get on it!


Extra Income Opportunity #4: Earn As Much As a Doctor, If Not More

Being a doctor is widely viewed as the ultimate career. It promises personal satisfaction, prestige, and income.

But reality is different.

Becoming a doctor is enormously difficult and expensive. You spend years studying like a fiend in college. Then again in medical school, followed by three or four more years as an intern.

After all of that, the actual experience of being a doctor is much less satisfying than it used to be (according to studies). And less remunerative.

It may surprise you to know that most doctors earn, on average, less than $135,000 per year. In India that number is significantly lower at about Rs 10 lacs per year. Some specialists, such as heart surgeons, can earn several times that. But unless the doctor becomes a businessperson, running his own medical practice, the chances of earning more than half-a-million dollars per year are slim.

And there are significant expenses that go along with running a business.

On top of that, the hours are long and stressful. In India,the average general practitioner works 48+ hours per week, and sometimes without breaks. In

other words, being a doctor today is not what it's cracked up to be.

A Young Woman Who Found out the Hard Way

Thanks again for the wonderful work you all have been providing. - Club member NG Dr. Lissa Rankin discovered this the hard way-through experience.

At first, Dr. Rankin was seeing 25 patients per day. Eventually, she was seeing 40 patients per day. That meant five patients per hour-assuming a nine-hour workday (with an hour for lunch). And it gave her only 12 minutes per patient.

In fact, because of paperwork, the time she was actually able to spend with each patient was closer to five minutes.

Lissa was frustrated. Plus, her partners were pressuring her to work even more. Their reimbursements were shrinking, while their overhead and malpractice insurance costs were skyrocketing. And there was no solution in sight.

In 2007, Lissa decided to leave her practice. It wasn't an easy decision. Breaking her contract cost Lissa her retirement savings. She also lost her house.

“I couldn't do it anymore. It wasn't fair to my patients or me. I was devastated,” she said.

For several years, she made ends meet by selling her artwork and taking on odd jobs. But she never lost her interest in medicine- especially women's health issues. This led her to start a blog:

A blog is a great way to turn your passions or expertise into a reliable, continuous income stream. Done right, you can easily earn $5,000 per month or more.

From Doctoring to Riches

Lissa's experience as a doctor gave her a unique perspective. And her blog soon gained traction. By 2011, it had 30 contributors. Last year, she began offering coaching courses. So far, this has given her an income of more than $300,000, with much more to come. She also signed a six-figure deal for a book, Mind Over Medicine, which is coming out this summer.

Could this type of income opportunity be right for you? That's what we will explore in this edition of the Extra Income Project.

What Is a Blog, Anyway?

“Blog” is a portmanteau word-a combination of “Web” and “log.” It is an online journal of thoughts and opinions on a particular subject. Usually, a blog consists of a series of “posts,” with the latest one appearing first.

If you write about a topic that has broad appeal, you might have a large following. If you choose a topic that is of interest to a limited audience, you might have a smaller but more avid following.

In recent years, professionally edited “multiauthor” blogs have developed. But most are still the work of individuals covering single subjects. They write about everything from business and politics to health and fashion.

Many people have made fortunes with their blogs. A few examples:

Arianna Huffington founded The Huffington Post, a news blog, in May 2005. AOL acquired it in 2011 for $315 million. The Huffington Post rakes in an estimated $2.3 million per month in pay-per-click revenue alone.

Pete Cashmore was a teenager when he started in 2005. Thanks to this wildly successful news blog, he is now worth approximately $95 million.

Kevin P. Ryan launched Business Insider in 2009. Today, this trusted source for business news has more than 5 million visitors daily.

With, Gina Marie Trapani turned simple tips to make life easier into an advertising cash machine. She is worth an estimated $109 million.

And right here in India, from Top 10 Earning Blogs and Bloggers In India:

Amit Agarwal, an IITian in Computer Science with career experiences in Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, blogs about Science and Technology in his blog Digital Inspiration and makes about Rs. 600,000 p/m. He is one of India's foremost professional bloggers.

Jaspal Singh founded his blog in 2004 and writes about technology. A mechanical engineer by qualification, Jaspal is now a professional blogger and makes approx. Rs. 240,000 p/m

DNA Editor-in-Chief Sandip Dedhia along with seven other and founded This blog gives technology gyan and info on the latest gizmos. His blog earns approx. Rs 200,000 and is among the top 3 blogs in India in terms of revenue.

Harsh Agrawal became a full time professional blogger in Sep 2008 after quitting his job in the IT firm Convergys. His blog is a treasure for information on blogging, WordPress, SEO and technology. Aptly titled ShoutMeLoud, it makes approx. Rs 180,000 p/m and is among the top 5 blogs in India to make the highest earnings.

And these figures are from 2012. Their incomes and blogs ever since have only been growing, giving inspiration to a whole new generation of bloggers. Most blogs don't bring in anywhere near this kind of money. But there are many, many blogs out there that are making people hundreds and thousands of extra dollars each month.

My Own Story

I spent 10 years writing essays on business under the pen name of Michael Masterson. They were posted on a website called Early to Rise (ETR).

I never thought of this as a blog because my essays were automatically sent to my readers via email. With most blogs, the reader has to go to the actual blog site to get the information. In fact, the difference is only technical-a “push” versus a “pull” format.

ETR began as a hobby. Every few days, I'd write something about leadership or negotiating or what have you and email it to some people I knew who were interested in that sort of thing. They, in turn, would email it to people they knew.

I love the freedom to publish whatever I want on my blog. I can share any travel story… any photo… and not worry about an editor rejecting a story idea or a stock photo inspector rejecting a photo. I get to express who I am to the world and help people escape to fascinating destinations through the words and photos I share. - Beth Caton Within months, thousands of people were reading my essays. That's when Bill Bonner, a friend and business partner, suggested that this could be a moneymaker. We came up with the name Early to Rise and started promoting it through search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click marketing.

It took off like a rocket. And before we knew it, ETR had 900,000-plus subscribers and was generating more than $10 million per year in revenues.

In the beginning, I wrote all of the essays, most of them about business. But as our readership increased, I started to invite experts on other subjects to write for us. This increased the value of ETR for our subscribers. It also reduced my workload.

Eventually, I felt that I had run out of things to write about. So Bill and I turned ETR over to two of our readers-the young entrepreneurs who are publishing it now.

I met quite a few bloggers during the years that I worked on Early to Rise. Most of them weren't making much money, and it was easy to see why. They knew next to nothing about how to write and market an informational website. They were making lots of very basic mistakes.

Meanwhile, people like Lissa Rankin have been earning substantial incomes from their blogs. As a result, American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) launched a program to teach its members how to do it.

I'll tell you more about AWAI's program in a moment. First, let's examine the benefits of blogging.

The Benefits of Blogging

The benefits of blogging for income are considerable. You can work from home. You can work as much or as little as you want. You can write about subjects that interest you. You are your own boss. And you can make a good deal of money.

Needless to say, blogging is a great way to make money without the constraints of a 9-5 workday.

Since this is an Extra Income Project essay, I want to give you some general suggestions on how you can establish your own part-time blogging business.

I spoke to Lori Allen, the director of AWAI's travel division, which operates the blogging program. She gave me lots of information on how it works. She also told me about lots of people who became successful bloggers by taking advantage of the program. For example:

Steven and his wife Dana took a trip to Ecuador in search of a retirement paradise. They found it in Puerto Cayo, “a quiet fishing village practically undiscovered by the rest of the world, where untouched Pacific beach stretches out for miles…”

They decided to build a home there, and Steven started a blog to share the details. To his surprise, there was a lot of interest. People wanted to hear more.

So he continued to use his blog to talk about his experiences in Ecuador. He's written about the beaches he's discovered… about the culture. He's even written about the bugs. (If you think finding a spider in the shower is scary-how about finding a scorpion? Yikes!)

Steven is simply writing about what his life is like in Ecuador. But his blog is earning him and Dana an income that's helping to fund their retirement.

I'll tell you more about people who have turned blogging into an income opportunity in a minute. But first, let's look at how this business works.

How Blogging As a Business Works

Think of a topic that interests you. Let's say you like coffee. So you simply start writing little bits and pieces about what you know about coffee.

I enjoy all of your articles about enjoying the good life. - Club member JY You could write about camping, picnicking, traveling abroad, selling a house, raising culturally aware children, or dealing with allergies. Just about anything.

A blog, as I said, is an online journal about a topic that interests you. To make money from a blog, you should have interesting ideas, strong opinions, and good judgment. If you do, your readers will be happy to pay you for additional information and advice. This could be in the form of books or special reports that you put together.

The most common way to make money from a blog is with advertising. (These are the little ads you see off to the side when you're browsing a website.) Say your topic is camping. A company that sells tents will pay you to advertise its products on your blog. The more readers you have, the more you can charge for your ad space.

If you do what I did with ETR and get your readers to automatically receive your posts via email, you'll make even more money from advertising. The reason for this is simple: By sending out your blogs, more people will read them. And that translates into more sales for your advertisers.

The Income Potential

Blogging is fun. But it's not “just” fun. It's also profitable… when you do it right. Successful part-time bloggers earn 20 to 50,000 or more every month. Full-time bloggers make in the lacs -enough to support themselves and their families.

For example:

- Rahul Bansal started in 2006 to give information on technology, social networking, gadgets and internet related articles. He writes with two other bloggers, Aditya Kane and Sauravjit Singh and is making almost Rs 120,000 p/m - Nirmal started his blogging career in 2007 with He is a Civil Engineer and Software Engineer but currently a blogger by profession earning over Rs 2 lac pm. His blogs effectively instruct newbie bloggers. - Neeti Mishra, a second year arts student and a professional blogger at 19, earns approximately Rs 20,000 per month. She clocks in about 28 to 30 hours per week for her blogging activities. - At the age of 18, Sushant Risodkar is a part time blogger making thousands of dollars from his blog SmartBloggerz. It's a great resource for those interested in making money online. - Harsh Agarwal, one of India's most popular professional bloggers, with not one but eight effective and earning blogging sites to his credits writes: “Hi all, I'm Harsh Agrawal a solopreneur and professional blogger. I blog at, where I talk about various aspects of creating and managing blogs and I'll show you how to generate full-time income from it. I'm 26 years old and based in heart city of India - New Delhi.” Shout Me Loud alone makes almost 2 lac rupees a month.

Your First Step

If earning extra income by writing a blog is of interest to you, your first step is to learn as much as you can before you start. The perfect way to do this is through AWAI's program.

Additional Blogging Resources

There are other blogging resources you may wish to consider.

Books: How to Start a Blog That People Will Read

Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community

Start Your Own Blogging Business

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six­ Figure Income

Websites: WikiHow: How to Write a Famous Blog

Learn Blog Tips: One Stop Guide for Making A Full-Time Income Blogging

Shout Me Loud

Monetizing Indian Blogs I'm talking about Money­Making Travel Blogs: Your Step­by­Step Guide for Turning Adventures and Hobbies Into Income by Paula Pant.

While the program's title implies that it's only about travel blogs, the step-by-step guide applies to all kinds of topics.

As Lori Allen (director of AWAI's travel division) puts it, “Lots of people have blogs. Our program helps them create LUCRATIVE blogs about traveling or any other interests they want to blog about. These are the techniques bloggers are using to earn upward of $10,000 per month.”

Paula Pant isn't just the author of the program. She's successfully implemented her own step-by-step advice with her blog (

She started the blog for her own enjoyment, as a hobby, because she wanted to share her travel experiences with others. After a year, she was earning a full-time income.

Money­Making Travel Blogs: Your Step­by­Step Guide for Turning Adventures and Hobbies Into Income consists of:

A step-by-step guide that you can read on your computer or print out A series of online videos that hold your hand through the whole process Advice on what your blog might look like… what to write about… how to promote your blog… and how to pursue moneymaking opportunities And there's bonus material on how to start a blog in 19 minutes or less.

You can watch all of the videos in a single afternoon and be up and running in a week. After that, you'll use the program as support-for ideas to keep the blog going, grow your readership, and ratchet up your income.

The program includes everything you need to know to launch-and operate-a successful, profitable blog.

What Are You Waiting For?

As a member of the Wealth Builders Club India, you already know the importance of having extra streams of income. That's what allows you to plan for the future and live a financially secure life.

And blogging is ideal as one of those extra income streams. It won't even feel like work. You can write about something you love, work as much or as little as you want, and work from wherever you want.

I urge you to get started today.

With the help of AWAI, it will be easier than you think. As always, we don't make a dime for recommending AWAI's or anyone else's programs. In fact, we negotiated with AWAI to get the lowest pricing ever published on this program.

To learn more about Money­Making Travel Blogs: Your Step­by­Step Guide for Turning Adventures and Hobbies Into Income, just click here.

Best, Mark


Editor's Note:

The number of bloggers making money in India is increasing every day. And the potential is huge right now. India needs Indian bloggers blogging in Indian-styles about Indian things. Right now, we often have to turn to international blogs - but why should we? Our lives are distinct and so should our online experience be. So whatever your expertise, ideas, thoughts… take the time to put them online… and you will have an extra tap to fill your income bucket.

By the way, some of the Indian blogs in the article (under additional resources) are dedicated to teaching us how to make money from blogs, and are a wealth of information. So learn all you can there. And let me know what you think. As usual, we will create in-house reports to address any information you require on the subject.

To your successful blog,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club.


3 Letters to Make Your Business an Online Success: SEO

In your wealth-building journey, whatever business venture you decide to embark on, whether online or offline, an online presence and website are crucial to your success. All businesses - whether B2B, B2C, NGO's, local or global need to get online, and get found to reach customers in this age of 'Google it'.

When you build a website, your first question should be:

'How do I get listed on a Google search?'

This report is the answer to that question.

Not just getting listed, but getting on the first page of a Google search, or a search by any search engine is your main goal. A presence on the first page of a Google search is like a free ad for you every time someone searches for you or your product.

This report will show you what steps you need to create a holistic online marketing strategy, and to optimize your website for search engines, which drives traffics to your site, builds awareness of your brand, and ultimately brings in clients.

SEO, Search Engine Optimization

SEO, search engine optimization, is the process that makes your site understandable by search engine programs.

Google, which is about 70% of all Internet searches released a new Quality Rater's Handbook emphasizing the acronym E-A-T to be used for rating websites - “expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness”. If you can create a high quality website which is trustworthy and filled with expert and authoritative content you are sure to be ranked highly.

To make your website findable by search engines, and rank highly in the internet hierarchy, you need to optimize in these four ways.


The most important thing you can do is get other websites to link to your page (backlinks). This is easier said than done. Why would other websites want to link to you? Here are 5 ways to get links from other sites:

Write good content. Fill your website with entertaining, educational, or otherwise useful content. When people like it they will link to it.

Write free content for others, such as a guest blog, and link to your own website. This is good for both parties - they get content, you get links!

List your websites on free local directories. Some good ones are DMOZ, Yahoo Directory,, Yellow Pages and Best of the Web. They offer good quality backlinks and although some charge a fee they might be worth the investment. Here is a list of free directories.)

Link to other websites. Connecting with other bloggers and posters will create relationships - so when you link to their sites they will be likely to link back to you when the content is relevant.


Resource Guide A guide for beginners to learn Keyword research 10 Keyword placement techniques for higher ranking How to rank#1 in Google Search Putting keywords in certain places on the web page makes it easier for search engines to search. You can put them on headlines, sub-headlines, body content, image tags, and links. Here are 5 ways to optimize keyword use:

Pick one primary keyword for each page, and focus on optimizing that page for that word. If you use too many keywords on a page, it will lose its importance and credibility because search engines won't be able to categorize it properly.

Include primary keywords in headline and description. Search engines give more weight to these.

Include the keywords in your main content but make sure they are relevant with the rest of your content because Google is way too smart. If it sees that you have included keyword that have nothing to do with the content you will lose rank, or even get blocked from search engines.

Include keywords in the filename of images you use on the site (e.g. yourkeyword.jpg), or image descriptions because this helps with searching.

Include the keywords in the page URL. For example if a primary keyword for my post is happiness I make it appear in my URL, which is

Most websites give you easy options to enter and edit meta tags (i.e. keywords) without knowing anything about programming websites - through plug-ins that you can install easily.

This is what meta tags look like in HTML documents: Title: The title of the page is seen at the top of a web browser, and the main headline displayed in search engine results. Meta Description: A short description of the page. Meta name=“description” content=“Common Sense Living is a site that brings common sense wealth building and lifestyle ideas to readers.

And remember always write content naturally - if you try to stuff in keywords where they don't fit it will show - to people and to search engines. Spam is one thing both can recognize!


Resource Guide How to submit Sitemap to Google Search How to submit sitemap to Bing search engine You should also link internally on your website. Link one page to another, and one blog post to others to send additional traffic to them. Interlinking will cause your readers to spend more time on your page increasing your rankings. The words you use should also be keywords - this will help Google connect your keywords as well. So if you are writing a post about SEO - link the word SEO to another post you may have referred to the same topic.

Sitemaps help search engines discover the content on your site, basically search engines send 'robots' that 'crawl' your website to understand the content, and sitemaps shows them the way. There are many websites that can create a sitemap for you. If you are using WordPress (more on that in the Blogging report WBC is creating fro you), you can use Google XML sitemap plugin to create sitemap for your new WordPress site.


This is the last but definitely not the least important aspect of SEO. Offer unique content because people need good content and will automatically come to you. If your content is valuable it will rank highly, for example if people go to your website and spend more time on it then Google will rate your website higher.

Have some useful, detailed and permanent content that will draw in traffic continuously, but also create regular content to give people something to come for. Vary your content - not just text but images, videos, games, slides, all of these will add value to your site.

Search engines keep changing the way they search for content. They used to be completely keyword focused, but now they are more query focused - searching based on questions users ask rather than just keywords. So design your content and write your headlines to answer questions users may be searching for.

Even though search engines keep updating their search algorithms, the basic premise of a good website remains the same - good content. The better the content on your website, and the more user-friendly your site is, the greater it will rank. Remember your audience, who is reading your content, and will they love it? If they do, search engines will love them too. SEO will help them find your content and make it available to users.

When it comes to successful websites - quality content is paramount.

Marketing Initiatives

SEO should be part of a digital marketing strategy. Below are some other activities you can adopt to make sure your strategy is comprehensive and your business gets the most possible return.


Provide an option to “Like,” tweet”, and otherwise share your page, product, or article so people can click on them to spread the word around. The more shares your site content gets the more popular your website becomes and increased traffic means increased rankings. Refer to the WBC social media guide.


According to Jacob Nielson email newsletters remain the internet's best tool for supplementing a website. By sending out a newsletter from your website you can send users news and articles you want them to see including new blog posts, images, replies to their comments, offers on products, etc. Remember to give them the option to unsubscribe from your newsletter.


Resource Guide 5 steps to pay-per-click advertising that works Start a Successful Pay-Per-Click Campaign The beginners guide to setting up an adwords account PPC is an online marketing tool, where as the name suggests you pay when people click on your ad to come to your website. You place ads on various online websites - and when that ad is clicked the user is redirected to your website. By paying to drive traffic to your website the results are faster than with SEO where you build credibility slowly over time. Another advantage is that you pay by the click so even if you have a small budget you can still advertise. Here's how PPC works: Through programs such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, you set a budget (start with a few hundred rupees a day), and the type of person you want seeing your ad, and Google will place your ad in strategic places deducting from your budget only when someone clicks. The more you are willing to pay per click the more chances your targeted keyword will receive the most exposure.

However, even with PPC it is eventually your content that keeps users on your site. And you need to make sure you get the right kind of user to your site and are not paying for random clicks.

Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

Google Analytics, is one of the most useful free website analytics software that can be easily installed. You can track goals and conversions, integrate search keywords to see what people are looking for on your site. Scrutinise and analyse your data from all angles. But don't jump to conclusions. If you want to change something, get someone else to look over your data first and corroborate your idea.

Bring On a Digital Marketing Expert

Although PPC and SEO both sound simple, they are not quite that easy. You can put in a lot of effort with very little reward if you don't get your strategy right. If you have the budget bring on an online marketing strategist to design your online marketing, SEO and PPC campaign to make them as effective as possible. This can be a one-time deal, getting a freelancer to optimize your online ad campaign, and show you how to track it. It will give your website a great start , and save you from re-doing a lot of work later on.

Use the above ideas to create a comprehensive strategy, and your online business is sure to make waves.

Extra Income Opportunity #5: How to Increase Your Income Now

As we've discussed before, the surest and fastest way to grow your net worth is by increasing your income. So far, we have featured six opportunities, including copywriting, blogging, e-lancing, and photography, among others.

In this issue, instead of introducing a new opportunity, I want to take a break and talk about how easy it can be to earn a very high income where you're at now.

Regardless of what work you are currently doing, whether you've landed your dream job or are giving tuitions to pay the rent, the work habits you develop now and the type of employee you are can make a huge difference in the amount of wealth you eventually acquire.

It stands to reason-I think you'd agree-that to get a better-than-average salary, you have to be willing to do a better-than-average job. If you put into action the recommendations I'm going to give you, your income will increase substantially in the next few years. Specifically, I will show you how to elevate your income to six figures in five years or less.

If you can boost your income by, say, 25-50 lac rupees in the next five years yet maintain the same expenses you have now, that will be a whole lot more money you'll be able to invest in your future.

The advice I'm going to give you is based mostly on my personal experience and the experience of about a half-dozen protégés of mine-a select few-who have skyrocketed to the top of their fields and now enjoy the benefits of achievement: better career options, more favourable networking opportunities, more helpful mentors, and a higher income.

How I Boosted My Annual Income From $14,000 to More Than $1 Million

Before I got married, I was an average worker-by which I mean that I showed up. Woody Allen has famously said that 80% of success is just showing up. I know what he means. He's talking about an aspect of extraordinary success that often involves being in the right place at the right time. But his maxim doesn't apply to becoming a great employee and earning an extraordinary salary.

For that, you're going to have to do more than just show up. My years of just showing up provided me with lots of experience, jumping from one interesting job to another, but it never got me a very high income. In fact, I don't think I got a single decent raise until I was married and realized I had to do more than just get to work and do my job.

After I was married and had a child, I got serious about work and started getting good raises. My starting salary at that time, as an editor with a Washington, D.C., based newsletter publishing company, was $14,000 per year. Four years later, I was earning $30,000. That's an increase of about 21% per year. Making a 21% increase every year will get you very rich over time.

But when you are starting off in a career and moving up, the increases you get tend to be considerably higher than what you get later. Given the business and industry I worked for then, I could have expected my income to double again in the next 10 years. (That's assuming I continued to be an above-average employee.) An increase from $30,000 to $60,000 in 10 years represents a yearly rate of 7%. That's not bad, but I wanted more.

A year later, in 1982, I decided to get rich-and within a year after making that decision, I was making $150,000. Two years later (maybe sooner; I can't remember), my income was in excess of $1 million. I was earning more than $1 million per year, back in the early 1980s, and I was still an employee! Looking back on that experience, I see that my income “acceleration,” as it were, occurred in two phases.

Thank you again for all of the great work you and your team do. It's always a pleasure to read your valuable work. Club member DS The first phase was in transforming myself from an ordinary to an extraordinary worker. The second phase was in moving up from extraordinary to invaluable. An ordinary worker works the way most workers do.

An extraordinary worker does substantially more than the average worker. Aninvaluable worker makes such a significant contribution to the company that losing him or her would be considered a major financial misfortune.

By the way, please excuse my use of the adjectives “extraordinary” and “invaluable.” I know they sound pompous, especially since I'm talking about myself. I'm using those words because they convey something important in their literal meanings.

Let's get back to my story and see how these stages of work performance affected my ability to demand a higher salary.

How I Became an Extraordinary Employee

In 1982, as I said, I was working as the editor of a couple of newsletters (one about Latin American politics and another about African business and economics) for a small Washington, D.C., based publishing company. I was earning $14,000 per year, and my wife was earning less than that. Our two salaries could barely cover our ordinary living expenses.

On top of that, I was attending graduate school and we were paying off student loans. Then our first son was born. For the first six months of his life, he slept in an open drawer in our bedroom.

Recognizing that I had to take the monetary side of my work more seriously (up until that point, I was concerned mostly with trying to become a famous writer), I knew I had to change the way my boss, Michael, and his boss, Leo, felt about me.

Until then, they saw me as a bright kid who was on the border of being more trouble than he was worth. I got to work and did my thing, but I had the typical young writer's hatred for everything that had to do with the business side of business. I didn't like marketing, and I loathed sales. I didn't even like to include renewal forms in the envelopes that carried our newsletters.

I would be perfectly happy to try to make the editorial content of the newsletters better-if Michael were to ask me to do that-but he would be wasting his time if he thought I was going to help him with a sales letter. That prejudice against business had to change, I realized, if I expected to get an above-average raise.

My target was to get a $2,000 raise. If I didn't change my work habits, I knew, my raise would probably be about $500. So I decided to win over Michael and Leo.

I began by working longer hours and doing everything Michael asked- immediately and well. He remarked on the improvement in my productivity. Within a month, he was favouring me over the other employees, ever so slightly, when it came time to delegating responsibilities.

Knowing that Leo was very concerned with expenses, I spent a week looking into ways we could reduce them. Although we were a small organization, we spent a good deal on typesetting and printing. By calling around town to typesetting shops and printers, I was able to come up with a plan to reduce our yearly costs by about $48,000.

I presented my plan to Michael by way of an interoffice memo, copied to Leo. Even though he had nothing to do with my cost-cutting idea, I was careful to give Michael partial credit for it. To win Leo's attention, I wasn't going to risk losing Michael's approval.

Leo boosted my income to $16,000 several weeks later. That was my goal, and it represented, I realize now, a 14% increase. That was about five times the company's average and probably more than I deserved.

But I think both Leo and Michael were so impressed with my transformation from an average, semi-talented, reluctant-to-help writer to a helpful member of the business team that they wanted to reward me.

I was happy with my raise but at the same time realized that unless I continued to improve, my next raise wouldn't be as big. I'd get a better-than-average increase, because I had turned into a better-than-average employee, but that wouldn't satisfy me. To get more, I knew I had to give more.

So, without being asked, I redoubled my efforts to keep expenses down and worked to improve the editorial quality of our newsletters. As a result of my efforts, the newsletter renewal rates improved. This brought in more revenues and higher profits.

Over a period of three years, I came up with dozens of ideas that reduced costs and improved the quality of our products. By my coming in early, working late, and being the go-to guy when problems arose, my salary increased from $16,000 to $30,000. That was a 23% yearly increase.

Thirty thousand dollars doesn't sound like a lot today. (You will earn that or more starting out.) Back then, however, it was substantial, especially when one considers my industry and the business I worked for.

In my first three years of paying attention to my job, I learned one very important secret about making a lot of money as an employee: To earn significantly higher raises than the average person, you must perform at a significantly higher level than your co-workers.

As long as your work performance is ordinary, you can't expect anything more than an ordinary salary. But if you change your work habits and contribute substantially more than your fellow workers, you can rightly expect to be paid substantially more than they are getting.

How I Became an Invaluable Employee

In 1985, I moved to Florida to take a position as editorial director of a bigger newsletter-publishing company that had set up shop in Boca Raton. I applied my newfound work ethic to my job as editorial director-with a vengeance.

My starting salary-at $35,000-was already an improvement. But by applying what I'd learned to this bigger, faster-growing company, I was able to bring about bigger improvements. Instead of boosting renewal income by $50,000 per year, I could make a $500,000 difference.

The same ideas. The same amount of work. But applied to a larger, faster- growing company. That was the second important secret I discovered about making a great income as an employee: It's not just what you do at work that matters but for whom you do it.

To get the maximum value out of the hard, smart work you do, be sure that you are working for a boss who's willing to promote you and also for a company that is growing (so that there will be better positions waiting for you).

This is a wealth-building secret you shouldn't gloss over. In assessing the job you are shooting for, give serious consideration to the person you'll be reporting to, the part of the business you'll be working in, and the business itself.

What you want in a boss is a smart, experienced person who is going places. The things you want in a department or division are growth and an orientation toward sales. What you want in a company is a potential for significant growth. What you want in an industry is also growth potential.

If you have a choice, you should opt for a smaller, faster-growing company over a larger, stable business. The larger business will give you more perks and the appearance of more stability, but the smaller, faster-growing company will give you a much greater chance to boost your income.

Getting Rich

Remember-there are three factors in getting rich: how much you invest, how long you invest it, and over what length of time you invest it. How much you save is a function of how much you make. The faster you can boost your income into the

25 lac plus category, the faster you'll be able to start saving significant chunks of money each year. That's why we are putting so much stress on income. My decision to become rich had an extraordinarily powerful effect on everything I did thereafter. Before then, the business problems I faced often seemed confusing.

If, for example, I was faced with the recommendation that we improve the quality of the paper stock of our books and newsletters, I wouldn't be sure exactly how to respond.

Yes, a better quality of paper would improve the look. However, it would cost more.

What to do? Given the new perspective I'd acquired by committing to getting wealthy, I had a simple way of thinking it through: How much would it cost-and how would that equate to any possible improvement in sales? If the cost exceeded the perceived financial benefits, my inclination would be against spending.

Before deciding to get rich, I was confused by a host of interests that were antithetical to building the business and making profits. I was interested, for example, in winning industry awards and developing prestige in the marketplace. Since neither of these goals had any discernible benefit in terms of making the business grow, I now saw them as inappropriate personal indulgences.

When you put your business before yourself, problems that once seemed foggy clear up quickly. Challenges that once seemed important drop suddenly to the bottom of the priority list, and other objectives rise up.

In a matter of weeks, I reorganized my staff (fired someone who was holding me back and hired a superstar who had worked for a vendor), changed our product line (got rid of a favourite publication that never made any money), and streamlined the marketing department to make it easier and faster to launch new promotions.

Because of the work I did, my boss, JSN, increased my salary by $20,000-to $55,000. Although $20,000 was one of the biggest raises he'd ever given (and the biggest I'd ever received), I wasn't satisfied. I asked for more.

“I really appreciate the raise,” I told him, “but I've decided to become rich. And to hit the target I've set for myself, I need to make $70,000 this year, not $55,000.”

For a long moment, he said nothing. Then he leaned over and looked me in the eye: “But you're not worth $70,000,” he said. Having anticipated that “welcome back to reality,” I was prepared with an answer: “I know I'm not worth that kind of money,” I admitted. “But if you'll invest in me now, I will make it up to you 100 times later on.”

JSN was (and is) one of the best negotiators I've ever known. If he wanted to, he could have dismantled me at that point. But there was something about the earnestness of my plea and the confidence of my conviction that won him over. He thought about it overnight, and the next day he called me into his office and told me not only that he would give me the $70,000, but that he also hoped to someday make me into a millionaire.

I had done something that day that was much more important than I realized at the time. I had successfully negotiated a huge increase with an exacting boss- and had also gotten myself a world-class mentor. JSN was someone who could, and did, teach me how to get rich. He'd gotten rich three times over in his past careers. The newsletter-publishing business was going to be the fourth one.

And JSN had done himself a favour that day, too. In letting me know that he believed in me and intended to help me, he won the lifetime loyalty of a young man who could-and did-help his business go from just $1 million in sales that year to more than $100 million.

In an effort to achieve a dramatically higher personal income, I had transformed myself from an average worker to an extraordinary worker. And by deciding to become rich, I had taken my transformation one step further: I had become-to the business-almost invaluable. Let's reiterate. To get your income into the Rs 70-80 lac-plus range in five years or less, you need to do three things:

You must develop the working habits of an extraordinary worker You must attach yourself to a fast-growing company You must become an invaluable employee of that company.

Before I teach you specifically how to do this, let me first show you what elevating your income and getting big raises can do for you.

Your Boss Doesn't Know It Yet… but You're Getting a Big Raise Next Year

My brother hired SP for $20,000. On the same day, he hired LJ for $30,000. They both had the same qualifications: college degrees, a bit of experience interning for investment companies, and the desire to make a lot of money. SP stood out from day one. He was the first one to work every morning and stayed after everyone else, including my brother. LJ was good but rather ordinary.

Ordinary Pay Raises Will Make You Poorer, Not Richer Most people go through their lives working for businesses they care nothing much about, dealing with problems they'd rather not face, and getting paid wages they'd very much like to change. In the past year, the average salary increase in India has been about 10%.

During that same period of time, inflation increases only 3% per year. Fast-forward 13 years. SP is making more than $2 million every year, and LJ is making $38,000. SP has already outpaced LJ by more than $10 million. By the time they both retire, SP will have a net worth well in excess of $50 million, while LJ will be lucky if he has anything in his bank account.

What accounted for the difference? It was not intelligence. It was not ambition. It was simply the fact that SP decided to become a superstar, while LJ was content to be ordinary. That's how I see it. But let me try to prove it to you with some simple arithmetic.

Amit Ordinary is 25 years old, makes an ordinary 3 lac per year income, and gets ordinary 10% yearly increases. Over a 40- year career, he will make a little over a crore of ruppees.

Renu Superstar, also 25, follows our career- Ordinary Pay Raises Will Make You Poorer, Not Richer

If Renu keeps her expenditures down and lives on the same amount of money that Amit is making, she will retire a crorepati, while Amit will be forced to live on bare essentials.

If a mere 5 percentage points can make that big a difference, there is no doubt that bigger pay raises can make you much richer.

If you did make yourself invaluable to your employer and if the business you worked for was growing and profitable, it's perfectly reasonable to think that your compensation could rise from 3 lac to 15 lac in five years and then from 15 lac to about a quarter of a crore thereafter.

I have worked with dozens of young executives who have enjoyed that kind of income appreciation.

None of them are older than 45 (most are in their 30s), and they are already all multimillionaires. If they continue as they have been-and there is no reason why they shouldn't-they will all be among the top one-half of 1% of the population in wealth when they decide to retire.

When it comes to earning an income, “just showing up” doesn't cut it. You should now realize the following things: If you are satisfied being an ordinary employee, you will never earn enough money to grow wealthy.

If you contribute significantly more to your business than your fellow workers do, you can expect to see significant pay increases over time. These increases will be enough to give you a better lifestyle, but they will make you wealthy only after many, many years of scrimping and saving.

It is only by making yourself an invaluable employee that you can expect your income to skyrocket.

Keep in mind that there is nothing in the future estimated salary table that allows for the compounding benefit of working for a great boss in a strong division of a fast-growing company. Nor does this table take into account what can happen if you make the transition to being an invaluable employee early in your career.

That's what this wealth-building strategy is all about: dramatically boosting your salary by dramatically boosting your value-and fast.

Let's take a look at how salaries work in a typical business environment so you can see how you can make that happen for yourself.

Three Ways to Get Promoted Faster

Extraordinary employees get extraordinary raises-but how do you speed up the process? Remember, when you get recommended for a promotion, your superiors are betting their reputations on you. To make them take that risk, you need to do more than just a good job. You need to do three things.

Stand out from the crowd. Make sure you have a broad range of competencies and abilities in many areas. It's great to have strengths, but if you have only one area of expertise, you run the risk of being cast in the same role again and again. You want your employer to recognize your potential to perform well at a variety of tasks.

Get to know people outside your department. Turn every possible opportunity-whether it's a holiday party, your lunch break, or a meeting -into a chance to meet someone new inside your company. Develop a friendly rapport and establish yourself as reliable and competent.

Once you've made contact with someone new, ask him to introduce you to his co-workers or even his boss. This network of corporate contacts- including colleagues, subordinates, and superiors-can help you when you need a new challenge or want a promotion.

Plan for every possible outcome. While you may not be able to anticipate every possible outcome, you should have a game plan in place for several different scenarios. Think through what you would do in a given situation and how you would react if a meeting went badly or if a sale fell through. Your ability to change directions when you meet an obstacle will show your employer just how adaptable you are.

To these recommendations, I would add the following: You should try-to whatever extent possible-to demonstrate the skills of the job you are seeking as soon as you realize you want it. There's no better way to show your capabilities than by starting to do the relevant tasks before the job opens up.

First, volunteer to help the current jobholder. A job worth having is usually complex and demanding. That means the person whose job you want will probably feel-sometimes, at least-swamped. How could this person resist your pleasant proposition to do the chores he or she doesn't have time for?

Remember, the most important factor in getting ahead is to gain the trust of the people you work with-your subordinates, your colleagues, and your superiors. And you can't possibly get their confidence unless you merit it.

I am talking about respecting the fundamental unwritten rule of hierarchy: “If you support my position, and you prove yourself to be superior, when it is time for me to move upstairs, I'll recommend you to replace me… but only if I can trust you to continue to support me.”

When it comes to self-preservation, people are at their smartest. They listen with their full attention. They watch what you do. They overhear what you say to others. So be careful. And make up your mind that you will always have integrity with others.

Businesses exist to provide products and services to consumers. Healthy businesses measure their success in terms of their long-term profits. As an employee of a business, it's your job to help your company produce those long- term profits. You may think your job is something other than that.

You may think, for example, that your job is to answer the phone or deliver the mail or write marketing copy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your job is to produce long-term profits. In other words, your job is to help your company make more money.

The secret to getting above-average raises each year is to accept that as your fundamental responsibility-and to transform the work you are doing now in such a way that it will produce those long-term profits. The better you can do it, the more money you will make. It's as simple as that.

Salespeople generally make more than accountants, right? That's not because salespeople are smarter than accountants. Nor do they necessarily work harder. But the job they do is seen as more financially valuable than the job accountants do. That is the one and only reason they get paid more.

If you are working as a low-ranking employee right now, don't worry. The plan I'm going to give you works just as well for you as it does for top brass. In fact, it works better!

Phase I: How to Transform Yourself Into an Extraordinary Employee

If you want to dramatically increase your personal income, you must dramatically increase your corporate value. And as I said before, that means transforming yourself from an ordinary employee to an extraordinary employee and then from an extraordinary employee to an invaluable one. Here are five ways to make that happen:

1. Get in early. There is no better way to demonstrate your commitment to your company than by getting to work earlier than everybody else. Getting to work early sends a good message: “I'm here! I am eager to work! I'm ahead of the crowd!”

2. Understand your responsibilities. You may have received a job description when you were hired, and it may do a pretty good job of telling you what you have to do. But until you understand how what you do affects your boss's bottom line, you'll never be able to make good decisions about which projects to focus on.

The best way to do that is to make an appointment with your boss and ask, “What are the top 10 ways I can make you more successful at your job?”

Don't worry about appearing to want to curry favour with your boss. Tell your boss you realize your chances of success depend on his or her success. Say, for example, “I'm not asking for specific to-dos. Once I know your main objectives, I will be able to make good decisions on my own. That's why I'm asking. Because I want to make sure my work plan is in gear with yours.”

3. Focus on what's important. Once you know what your boss needs from you, apply Pareto's law to your work. Pareto's law says that 80% of the success of just about anything comes from 20% of the attention it's given.

So list your boss's top 10 priorities. Then identify the two that will have the greatest impact on his or her success. (Hint: They will probably have something to do with improving the company's bottom line.)

Those are the priorities that you will focus on. (Keep in mind that your boss may not know what his or her priorities should be. After working with your boss for a while, you may have a better idea of what will contribute to his or her success than he or she does.)

4. Never say no. Employees often wonder whether saying yes to every request will make them look weak or dependent. The answer: no. Your boss wants a “yes” to every request he or she makes of you.

Saying no-though sometimes warranted-may sound like you are moving against him or her. If you have already established your work priorities by taking steps 1, 2, and 3, you'll have no problem identifying requests that don't contribute to your boss's (and your) success.

When asked to do something of that nature, tell your boss that you will be happy to get to it at some time in the future, but at the moment you are working on things that you believe he or she would rather be done. Then, list what those things are. Chances are the boss will modify or even drop the request. If not, you can be sure there is a good reason why.

5. Improve your skills. Unless you keep growing-in terms of your knowledge and skills-you can't expect your income to keep rising. Ask questions about every aspect of your business that is related to what you do.

Find out what you can about the other areas-especially sales and marketing. Read executive memos. Take work-related courses. Have regular chats about business with the power people in your business. Implement what you learn in your work.

6. Communicate your progress. Doing your job well is good.

And getting better at it as time passes is better. But unless you let your boss and other powerful people at work know about your progress, you can't be sure they will help you.

Make it a habit to update your superiors, in writing, on the challenges you face and the objectives you've achieved. In promoting yourself professionally, follow these three rules:

Tell the truth. False promotion is worse than none at all. Be generous with credit to others. Stay humble and credit other people for their assistance when they have, in fact, helped you. When reporting your accomplishments, be specific… and keep your ego in check. Be conscious of your boss's ego, too. Give him credit whenever anyone compliments you on some achievement. A statement as simple as “I couldn't have done it without Aarti's help/wisdom” will usually do the trick. And take the time to write your boss and key fellow employees the occasional memo thanking them for their help.

How Hard Do You Have to Work?

Developing these six work habits isn't easy. You may be thinking, “I'm not sure I want to work that hard.” If so, consider this: Most employees work to simply get by. Some actually try to do as little work as they can get away with.

Even employees who seem productive often waste much of their time doing noncritical work like writing long memos about issues that aren't critical to the business… or arguing points that don't much matter… or working on projects that don't really affect the company's bottom line. In most businesses-which likely include the company you get your first good job with-only a very few people get in early and stay focused on what really matters.

Many employment experts explain that workers fall somewhere on a bell-shaped curve when it comes to diligence and follow-through. At the bottom of the curve are the loafers and goof-offs. In the middle is the silent majority that does just enough to get by. At the top are the relative few who are motivated to achieve.

When you understand the dynamics of any such group, you understand that a modest amount of hard work will put you beyond both the terminally slothful and the lump-along middle crowd.

Just by being modestly ambitious, you will rise to the top third of almost any organization. But getting up the last few rungs of that ladder-into that top 20% -will be tough, because the few you are competing against are competing hard.

Chances are they are as smart and talented as you, with the same (or more) basic resources. They may even have better contacts. But there is one thing they don't have more of, and that is time.

You can do better than someone who is smarter, richer, and luckier than you-as long as you are willing to work harder than that person does. People who rise to the top work long hours, but not excessively long. They are at their desks early-at least an hour before others-and they stay later (though it may be only a half-hour later).

I find your newsletters interesting and love Mark's philosophies. Club member L M. But what they do best is work smarter when they work. They do the necessary things first, even if they are difficult. They learn what they need to know and don't waste business time learning unimportant stuff. They are willing to harass and cajole, tease and criticize, flatter, and pout to get the job done.

They spend a few minutes every morning organizing their days and a little while every Monday morning planning their weeks. They select their tasks based on what will achieve their goals, not on what happens to end up in their inboxes. They manage their jobs; they don't let their jobs manage them. Hard work is, by definition, hard, but it's not all that hard if you know why you're doing it. Phase II: How to Transform Yourself Into an Invaluable Employee

By working harder and smarter to accomplish more, and by letting key people know what you are accomplishing, you'll find it pretty easy to get above-average raises. But how do you earn those really high incomes? I'm talking about 15-50 lac rupees or more? The answer, as I've indicated before, is twofold:

Step one: Learn (and eventually master) a financially valued skill.

Step two: Apply that skill to your company's core profit­generating activities.

Good employees earn good salaries because they are valued personnel.

But great employees earn amazing salaries because they are considered invaluable to the company. To be truly invaluable, you have to be, more or less, irreplaceable.

The closer you can get to seeming to be irreplaceable, the better your chances of radically increasing your income. The most important thing you'll need to do is this: Master a financially valued skill.

Step One: Learn a Financially Valued Skill

A financially valued skill is one that plenty of other people are willing to pay you good money for. How good? Let's use the number we've been shooting for: 15 lac per year. What specific skills are going to command that kind of salary increase? What are the skills that typically get that kind of money in the workforce?

There are three basic kinds of jobs in the business world: administrative, technical, and profit generating.

Administrative jobs include most positions in corporate management, product fulfillment, operations, and customer service, as well as some positions in finance and accounting.

Technical jobs include most positions in information technology and engineering and some positions in the legal, financial, and accounting fields.

Profit-generating jobs are those that are directly involved in producing profits for the company. Profit generators include marketers, salespeople, copywriters, people who create new products, and the people who manage all of these employees. In most companies, the leading profit generator is, of course, the CEO, because the CEO's main job is to deliver a bottom line.

Administrative workers, on the average, constitute the poorest-paid group. Generalists by training, they compete against a large pool of other generalists in jobs that require no special skills or talents.

If you are an administrator, and a very good one, you can expect to see your income rise as your performance improves. But more likely than not, it will be at the 4% or 6% level-probably not enough to meet your wealth-building goals.

Today, you are going to promise yourself that this year you will learn (or perfect) a financially valuable skill. You can't earn a high income, consistently, unless you have a financially valuable skill. To merit a lot of money for your time, you must do something very well that creates value for others.

There are not many such skills. You can, though, create value by speaking convincingly or writing persuasively or leading effectively. And sometimes, knowing how to get people out of serious trouble (think “doctor” or “lawyer”) can be very valuable.

Knowing how to fix a computer or analyze a spreadsheet is not the kind of skill I'm talking about. Neither is the skill that's required to draw up architectural plans or run wiring or the like. These are all valuable skills-just not financially valuable. If you understand the difference, you know something important about moneymaking.

For today, I want you to forget about all of the interesting talents you have that nobody will pay you for and focus, instead, on developing the one ability that can make you big money. If you can't think of anything, pick from the following list: writing, copywriting, phone sales, person-to-person selling, motivating people, or advertising.

This list should be sufficient to get you going. My friend, JF, developed his financial skill in a deliberate and purposeful way. As a result, his annual income (on a current basis) has climbed from 25 lac to 40 lac rupees. That's quite an accomplishment for one year.

It's entirely possible for you to do the same thing. It starts when you identify your financially valuable skill and set about to improve it.

If you are not currently (or haven't been trained to be) a salesperson, marketer, product creator, or profit manager, don't despair. You can keep your official job and still make the transition over to the money side of your business.

The objective is to start making significant contributions to the bottom line and let the bosses know that's what you are doing. Here's how to do that: Ask yourself which people in your company make the most money. Identify at least three distinct jobs.

Now ask yourself which of those jobs you would most like to do. Find out what it takes in terms of hours and days. Find out what it typically pays and when it pays more and why. Ask about the daily routine, the common problems, the biggest challenges, and the best rewards.

Ask. Observe. Read. Keep it up, day after day, until you start to feel as if you understand the job.

When you feel ready, talk to your boss about your plans. Then approach key people in the department you're interested in. Tell them (honestly) that you think their field is something you'd be good at. Say you've been learning about it in your free time and you'd like to volunteer to help them out whenever you can so you can learn even more.

People will be impressed by your willingness to dive in and give them a hand. If your intentions are sincere and your follow-up is diligent, you'll soon enjoy a reputation for being an up-and-comer.

Make Yourself Into a Marketing Genius

Skilled marketers are consistently among the highest-paid individuals in any industry. They earn high salaries, extraordinary bonuses, and the respect and admiration of colleagues and competitors. Marketers who master their trades are all but guaranteed a life of wealth, security, respect, and satisfaction. The best marketers know how to apply three fundamental principles.

The First Principle: The Difference Between Wants and Needs

In today's consumer-driven economy, it's easy to mistake a want for a need. When you realize that your customers don't need your product or service, you recognize that the way to convince them to buy it is to stimulate their desire for it.

The most effective way to do that in your advertising is to do the following things:

Promise your prospective customer (usually implicitly) that taking a certain action (buying your product) will result in the satisfaction of a desire (want) Create a picture in your prospect's mind of the way he or she will feel when that desire is satisfied Make specific claims about the benefits of your product and then prove those claims to your prospect Equate the feeling your prospect desires (the satisfaction of a want) with the purchase of your product.

The Second Principle: The Difference Between Features and Benefits

A pencil has certain features:

It is made of wood It has a specific diameter It contains a lead-composite filler of a certain type It usually has an eraser at the end.

These features describe the objective qualities of the pencil. So if buying were a rational process, selling would be a matter of identifying the features of your product. But, as you just learned, buying is an emotional process.

And that means you must express the features of your product in some way that will stimulate desire. You do that by converting features into benefits. For example, the features just listed might be converted into the following benefits:

It is easy to sharpen It is comfortable to hold It creates an impressive line It makes correcting easy.

The Third Principle: The Difference Between Benefits and Deeper Benefits

The reason some marketers do a better job than others is that they understand the difference between benefits and deeper benefits. In our example, for instance, what might be the deeper benefit of having a pencil that sharpens easily?

To figure that out, master marketers ask themselves these questions: “Who are my target customers? And why, exactly, do they want little things (like sharpening pencils) to be easy?” Of course, there's no single answer to such a question. It depends entirely on who those target customers are. If they're busy executives, their deeper reasons are going to be different than if they're busy housewives.

Master marketers who understand these deeper motives can create stronger advertising copy, because they will be appealing to emotions that are closer to their customers' core desires.

Where to Go to Learn Financially Valued Skills

There are many ways to learn financially valued skills. You can learn pretty much everything there is to know about sales and marketing, for example, by reading these books:

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples The Copywriter's Handbook by Bob Bly Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith.

Step Two: Apply That Skill to the Company's Profit Stream

Here's a way to think about getting above-average raises. I call it the 10-for-1 rule. If you want to get a raise that's Rs 50,000 more than ordinary, make sure you've been a major contributor to an idea that will generate at least Rs 5 lac in additional net profits for your company.

If you want to increase your current income by, say, 10 lac rupees, you are going to have to find a way to increase business profits by about a crore of rupees. And that's not just a crore of rupees. It's a crore of rupees this year and next year and every year thereafter that you expect to maintain that much-higher-than-average salary.

In general, you'll have the best chance of having that kind of impact on your company's bottom line if you are working in one of several key, profit-generating areas: sales, marketing, product creation, and/or profit management.

Yes, some engineers, attorneys, and corporate administrators earn $150,000 or more. But in companies in which such functionaries earn big money, the marketers, salespeople, and profit-center managers are earning $250,000- 500,000-sometimes more! I'm not saying you should abandon your métier if you've been trained as a computer analyst, engineer, or accountant.

I'm just saying that if you want to make a super-high income, you have to become a super-significant contributor to your company's bottom line. And that means you have to become an influential force in product creation, marketing, sales, or profit management. Here's how you start:

First, figure out how your business creates profits Then, figure out how your job contributes to that process Next, modify your job so that more profits are produced as a result of what you do Finally, make sure that the people who are in charge of giving raises know how much more money you are making for the company.

So how much do you know about your company's core profit strategies? Answer these questions:

What is your company's primary competitive advantage? How is that advantage employed in (1) product creation, (2) marketing, and (3) sales? Can you name five primary benefits of your company's top-selling product/service? Can you name the chief secondary (psychological) benefit of this product/service? Can you name one unique selling proposition (USP) for each of your company's top-selling products/ services?

If you know your business the way you should, you will have quick and confident answers to all of these questions. If they leave you guessing, you have work to do.

Ask yourself this: “In the eyes of upper-management people, is the work I do considered (1) nice but unnecessary, (2) necessary but not of much interest to them, or (3) essential to the growth and profitability of the business?” Income producers are viewed as not just “good” but “necessary” and “desirable.”

By making yourself one of the few people in your company who know how to bring in the bacon, you give yourself the greatest chance of getting big raises, big promotions-and, eventually, a six-figure income.

Not Sure Which Skill to Master? Try This One.

Of all the skills you can have-the ability to speak like Winston Churchill, the skill to paint like Rembrandt, whatever it takes to calculate like Albert Einstein -none will help you achieve wealth as well as knowing how to sell things. So if you're not sure which financially valued skill to target, I recommend becoming an expert in the kind of sales that make your company profitable.

Every private enterprise functions the same way. To keep doing what it wants to do (and to make a profit from it), it has to (1) attract customers at a reasonable cost and (2) convert them into repeat buyers. Every successful business is based on understanding the correct answers to two very simple questions:

1. What is the most cost-effective way of attracting customers?

2. What is the best way to keep those customers buying?

If you can learn to see your business that way and can one day discover the correct answer to those two questions, you will quickly become recognized as an invaluable employee. That will happen because you will understand your business from the inside out.

Once you've figured out what you can do very well, promise yourself that you will spend some time every working day developing that skill. If you use your daily task list as explained in The Pledge, you will make great progress. Make that commitment now. In addition to the extra income you'll enjoy, I know you will be able to achieve all of your objectives in life-even those that have nothing to do with money.

Best, Mark

Blogging Basics for Beginners

Ritika Bajaj I was introduced to blogging sometime in 2009. It actually developed from my own need to express myself on some platform other than a paid one. I was writing for clients, magazines and authors, but seldom for myself… It was an avenue to express random thoughts, to debate with my own mind and kept me committed to writing even on the days when I had no work.

As a writer, it gave me full creative license. I initially jotted down thoughts on my experiences, then went onto specific areas of interest. I soon discovered that I did have an audience. And I could garner it on my own strength. I didn't need to be published in any magazine or on someone's website. I just needed to write good content from my very own desk.

As a writer, blogging gives me a huge thrill. I enjoy tracking the number of reads my blog post gets. And the exciting part is that this viewership comes from across the world. And what's more, if you put some marketing sense into it, you can even generate income.

So just what is a blog and how does one use it effectively to represent their knowledge and generate income? This report sets out to answer these questions and more…


A blog is the truncated form of 'web log.' It is made up of many “posts” or “entries” that are presented in reverse chronological order, which means you will see the most recent one on top and you will have to scroll down for the older ones. Blogs are like personal diaries that are stored on the worldwide web. They initially started out as being a space for people to archive their own collections of reads and links and eventually became a place for them to present their own thoughts and expertise.

Source: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock

Problogger describes blogs as: '…a website in which items are posted on a regular basis… Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”… A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files)… Often blogs focus on a particular “area of interest”… Some blogs discuss personal experiences.'

A unique feature of blogs is that they have a personalised conversational tone. Almost like getting to know the writer while you get to know the topic that is written about. Not surprising then, that bloggers form their own communities. You'll find regular followers commenting on blogs and you'll find bloggers sharing the content from other similar bloggers.

Problogger's quote here is useful in understanding the same: 'A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there's also comraderie and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.'

Today blogs have become the take-off points for many ventures. They've become platforms for making money through advertisements, affiliate marketing, selling e-books and conducting online coaching sessions and webinars. All this from the comfortable space of your home.


Choose a service provider

Free services: Bloggers can start blogging through many services available online. There are essentially two routes to take: One, the free services provided by various blogging sites. All you need to do is sign-up with your basic details and start writing. These free blogging sites are good for basic blogs and also provide some enhanced features that can be bought. Most features essentially aid in further customisation of the blog.

Some free blogging sites WordPress Blogger Xanga Tumblr Medium Svbtle Quora Google+ Facebook Notes Sett Ghost TypePad Posthaven LinkedIn Influencers

Popular blog host providers

Hostgator BigRock GoDaddy HostingRaja FastWebHost MicroHosting DreamHost Bluehost Web host providers: The second route that a lot of bloggers eventually take is to host their blogs on a host provider service. This is pretty similar to starting a website. The advantages of paying for this service is that you get a unique domain name and full control of the domain panels, personalised e-mail ids, much more storage space and bandwidth, and ready-to-use templates for designing your blogs. What also helps is that the hosting provider gives you technical support when needed. Most of these services are available in the range of Rs 1000- Rs 4000 per year depending on what features you opt for.

Choose a Niche

Blogging is an extension of yourself. It's about your passions, your views on subjects and your areas of expertise. Darren Rowse in How to Choose a Niche Topic for your Blog quotes his friend saying: “Probably the best place to start thinking about what your blog should be about is to consider what YOU are about.” This also serves in giving the blogs a personalised tone characteristic of the blogger.

Blogging is a regular and long-term activity. It's something you would like to do a few times a week and for as long as you can. And it's something that people will eventually associate with you. Thus it's important to write on a topic that you can sustain for years to come. It's also essential to keep in mind that the topic already has an interested audience. Like most demand and supply rules go, there should be a specific target audience readily available for your blogs. The more specific your blog topic, the more your viewership.

A bad idea is to choose your blogging topic backward. Don't see what's popular or trending and then write about it. That's an act you won't be able to sustain for long. What you would rather do, is understand what you're good at and then figure out how it can serve the reader. You should also do some research to find out if the topic has lived its life on the internet, are there already too many posts on the topic or is it just beginning to get popular.

Before you start blogging on your chosen niche, survey the web. See what people in your area of expertise are writing about and how. Understanding competition will give you a sense of the readership, the popular styles of writing and also tell you the missing gaps in that particular blogging niche. You will then feel more confident about what you're offering and how best to package it.

An important question to ask yourself is, how prolific are you? Given that you will be blogging a lot about the topic and also generating products and money-making streams from that area of expertise, you should have enough content to keep you going for a while. You will also have to rehash some of the content in different forms. All this requires creativity and commitment.

Identify if your chosen niche can generate revenue for you. Keeping this factor in mind will help you set realistic expectations as to exactly how much money you can make from your blogs. While the blogs needn't have mass appeal, it should have a reasonable market. And you'll be surprised how extremely niche topics like knitting and crochet also find an audience for their blogs and conduct successful tutorials.

10 Tips to help you blog better

Know your stuff well: When you blog, it's not important to only love what you write about but also have a fairly good understanding of the subject. Blogging is your journey into writing reams of information on your topic of interest. Make sure you can both write and answer questions on the topic.

Be conversational in your tone: For blogging the general rule is to blog like you talk. Text that has an academic or business tone generally does not work well as it does not connect with the reader. The idea is to not 'talk down' or 'talk up' but create a chatty still respectable feel. The blog should sound like it's coming from you and going straight to the reader. It should have elements of personalisation like the occasional anecdote or two.

Think differently: The blog world is a cluttered one. The only way you will stand out is if you're saying something in a different way. Find the most creative and sometimes even outlandish way to present your theory, you never know what works with the audience. Also, don't forget to format the blog interestingly - use really good titles, subheads to break the thoughts and even quotes to highlight the important lines.

Avoid grammatical and spelling errors: A shoddy approach to language will never be forgiven. Do spell checks on your text. And for grammar, here's an interesting quote from Top 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners by Mariel Sunday Wangsgard: “Readers are fairly forgiving of misplaced commas and the like. But don't you dare mix up “their,” “they're,” and “there.” You'll be in a world of trouble from the grammar police. There all over the internet.”

Don't sound frivolous: A superficial understanding of the topic will come through easily in your writing. So to sound authentic enough and to gain knowledge and depth on a given niche, research as much as possible before you start blogging.

Add pictures and infographics: Good photographs lift a blog tremendously. They bring more viewership and can be used effectively to promote the blog on social media platforms too. So don't forget to take your camera wherever you go or dip into your existing archives. If you feel nothing works, you can use some of the stock photography sites online. Infographics are also being used effectively with colour and illustrations being brought together to describe the topic. A human illustrator or software like SmartDraw are some that can be used.

Keep the blog theme simple: The less cluttered the design of your blog, the better. It is essential that people focus on the written word more than the surrounding design. Choosing light colour schemes and clear fonts all help toward making the blog more readable.

Include categories, keywords and hyperlinks: These are important features of a blog and help the content become more search-friendly. Categories help you slot the topic under different heads. For example features on entrepreneurship can come under business, startups, inspirational. Within the content, pick out words that you feel will be relevant to those who search for articles on those topics. And finally, create hyperlinks to other sites which you may have mentioned on the site. This enables Google to club articles of similar interest for the reader.

Invite co-authors: An interesting way of keeping the reader engaged is by bringing in another voice into your blog. By partnering with another expert from your niche, you will find a host of new ideas, a diverse writing style and a new readership that he/she brings with him.

Content is king: Ultimately good content works better than anything else. People will keep coming to read your blogs if they value what you're doing. Thus the first and last rule of creating content is to focus on the content itself, to ensure it's substantial, well-researched, well-presented and unique. This can be a challenge but all you need to do is focus on the task at hand and spend some time on it. Jeff Bullas gives an important insight in 6 Lessons from the Top Bloggers: A Beginners Guide. He states, “The biggest reason why people seem to have such a hard time getting good content out is because they don't take enough time to make something valuable.”

Promote your blog

Once you have your blog ready, the next part is to use every avenue available to promote it to a diverse readership. Some of the ways you can do this are:

Using social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin are all great social media platforms to spread the word on your blogs. Twitter in particular is used by bloggers the world over by linking Tweets to their links. Creating a bitlink to help you save space on the 140-character limit on Twitter. Read more on how to optimise social media in this WBC report.

Commenting on others' blogs: Blogging like most online channels is about communities and camaraderie. So keep a track of what people in your niche are blogging on and post comments appreciating their work. Another way of participating is by joining online forums and group discussions.

Making it SEO-friendly: SEO is all about coming up on the first page of Google searches for a particular topic. SEO is a way Google clubs information on similar topics and presents them to the user depending on what keywords the person searches for. To enhance your SEO operations focus on the titles, words in the blogs, links, words in the link and create authentic and relevant links to other sites. An interesting video on the website Search Engine Land will help you understand this better. Also read our own WBC report on SEO

Creating collateral: Bloggers are constantly promoting their blogs through regular e-mailers to their existing audience. This works well when you have a good database of people who have signed up to read your blog and bring them back to your blog in a more structured way. Making PDF books and reports with a little more information than the blogs also makes your audience feel special and keeps them engaged.


Once you have all the above in order, it is now time to see how you can make some money from the whole process.

Using affiliate marketing: This works well if your blog is already getting a lot of footfalls. It is often referred to as “performance-based advertising”. You can market your blog to retailers and brands and give them some space on the page. When the reader visits your blog and clicks on those ads, he will be directed to the advertiser's homepage. This will give the advertiser more visibility and may even increase his sales. Each time a reader clicks on the ad, the blogger gets a fee on it. He additionally gets a percentage of the sales if the reader makes a purchase on the advertiser's website. This can be done independently by tying up with companies directly or through agencies like GoogleAdsense (, BuySellAds or AffiliateWP which find relevant advertisers and carry out the whole process for you.

If you conduct affiliate marketing yourself, it may take more time and effort but the rewards will be plenty as you can negotiate your own rates for the ads. It will also make your enterprise more local in its positioning, giving you an added advantage to strike more deals in the future. The best way to find relevant advertisers are by looking at your own industry. For example, a travel writer can display ads from a local travel agency, a food blogger can display ads of local restaurants and chefs, a fashion writer can tie-up with fashion houses in the city or designers etc.

Writing paid content: Many companies and services are happy to pay bloggers of their industries for writing unbiased reviews on their products. Car companies are known to do this often as are travel agencies. Since they know their bloggers have a huge following, they encourage them to write and link the content to their websites. But to build credibility it is preferred that the blogger states if it is a paid review or not.

Social media management agencies also often outsource their content for their clients to freelance bloggers. Send them a pitch with your blog, and they may just give you regular business.

Selling products: E-books and webinars can be sold through your blog using a payment gateway. If you are a retailer and sell physical products then you could push the sales of those through your blog too.

Coaching online: Nowadays bloggers are not just blogging but also coaching. Since most successful bloggers tend to write on 'how to' topics, it becomes a natural transition for them to move into coaching online. Some charge hourly consultation fees and use free services like Skype to chat with their students.

This was just an introduction to blogging. Once you start, you'll realise what a big and diverse industry it is. What's more, you'll even realise how much money can actually be made from blogging. Ofcourse the income will take time to grow. But many successful bloggers have been able to give up full-time jobs to blog on what they feel passionately about. Read more in Mark's article on how to blog to make money.

So start your journey into the blogosphere soon and let us know how it goes!


How to Craft Great Business Proposals That Stand Out

An important part of entrepreneurship and wealth-building is the sending out of business proposals. These can really be clinchers when it comes to gaining more business and building revenue. In today's times, business proposals have become more creative, using more imagery and better stories to convey what an organization can do for their prospective clients. What's more with many software now available, templates for proposals have become more standardized, easy-to-use and colourful, keeping in sync with the brand's ethos and values.

Through this report, we tell you how to make that first impression a lasting one, by putting all the punch you can into creating a stellar proposal that no one will be able to say no to. So use these tools and go win more business!

The Purpose Of A Business Proposal

A business proposal works in many ways. It is the first piece of communication that goes out to a company that is looking to use your services. Sometimes, the company clearly knows what it's looking for and asks you to develop a proposal to address a certain problem or service they need. This is called a 'request for proposal' or RFP.

At other times, a proposal can be used to reach out to new companies and look at probable collaborations in the future. Either way, your business proposal can be used as a tool that aptly reflects your enterprise and everything that it stands for.

While a business proposal will talk about what your enterprise has to offer, its primary focus is always on how your enterprise can benefit the company you're writing to and address its issues. This factor is at the foundation of all business proposals and also determines the eventual tone, look and feel of any proposal.

The difference between a business plan and business proposal

The terms business plan and business proposal are sometimes confused and used interchangeably. But the two have completely different meanings. A business plan is developed by an enterprise to understand its own future plans and growth trajectory. It could include the current business model, expansion plans, funding needed, markets targeted and the enterprise's ability to scale and make an impact. This is often presented by entrepreneurs to boards, angel investors, etc. It basically works as a road map for employees internally as well as for future investors.

In a post, The Winning Elements of Business Proposals, Darrell Zahorsky explains: “Unlike a business plan, which is written to run your company and raise capital, a business proposal is an unsolicited or solicited bid for business.”

This then brings us to business proposals. As is clearly stated, business proposals are used to garner more business and attract new clients. By their very nature, they are expected to talk more about “what we can do for you” rather than “what we are doing.” As you will read later in the report, all the language used in the proposal should convey how your association with the company you're writing to will help them make their own product or service better. Hence, the focus in business proposals is always on how your enterprise can make a difference to your client's business.

The Types Of Business Proposals

Solicited proposals: These are proposals sent out by companies asking for different vendors/organisations to bid for a particular service or business. They clearly state requirements for the proposals and sometimes also have a predetermined template. And while this may seem restrictive to the more creatively-inclined among us, there is scope to play around here as well - The choice of words and corroborating graphs and images used can set your proposal apart.

Unsolicited proposals: Your enterprise will reach a stage where it needs to expand its services or business. You may wish to partner or collaborate with other companies or you may simply want to reach out to big clients in a more effective way. This can be done by clearly stating how your services can benefit them more specifically and enhance their own business. This is the purpose of an unsolicited proposal. And here you can be as creative as you like and still retain the business-like informative tone.

What A Business Proposal Should Cover

You company's vision/mission statement: In the first part of the proposal briefly state your company's goals and values. This will set the tone for what has to follow and once done and out of the way, you will not need to come back to it again.

The client's problem statement: Once you've stated your own goals, it is then important to briefly state the client's problems and your assessment of them. This becomes a simple way of addressing the needs of a client. For example, if you're a public relations company and you're pitching to a client with low visibility, you can state: We understand that you are a brand with a long legacy and a credible body of work but with low visibility in the media. We realize your need for an understated presence but in today's times with so much clutter on print and social media, we believe you need to make your company's image felt more prominently and for the right reasons among both competitors and consumers.

A proposed solution for the client: In the case of a solicited proposal this is easy as you will simply state what you have that will help the company address the problem. In an unsolicited proposal, you can highlight your key offerings and then explain how each can be used to solve different business issues of the client. It is extremely important to research everything you can about the client here and understand exactly where you see gaps and how your enterprise can help the organization fill those gaps. In continuation from the previous example, your proposed solution can be: Being a PR firm of longstanding repute in the country, we will leverage our network in print and social media to enhance your visibility in your core market segments.

What sets you apart: This is essentially about stating what your company does differently from the rest and hence why your proposal should be considered over others. These could be factors like your competitive pricing, advanced technology, timely delivery, employee strength or any other information that makes the client more confident about choosing your company over another. So don't feel modest here, highlight your strengths and make sure they stand out.

Testimonials showcasing credibility: Previous success stories, endorsements or positive feedback from clients, or any other awards or recognitions are a good way to build the credibility of your enterprise and will add more weight to your proposal.

A brief mention of the client's competition: When you research on your client, it helps to find out and briefly allude to the general happenings of the industry. If there is something particular that your client is not doing, you can make a recommendation and give examples of how others in the industry are following those practices effectively.

An estimated timeframe for the job: It works to project certain timelines for the proposed project and its delivery. This also shows the client that timely work will take place.

An approximate pricing: If the proposal is specific, then a breakup of the costs can be worked out. If the proposal is generic, an approximate costing for the different jobs that will be undertaken can be given.

A call to action: Once you have finished detailing all the above, you can ask the client for a meeting to further discuss the proposal or you could ask for a response acknowledging the receipt of the same and ask if they have any further queries or need any more details.

A thank you note: Finally sign off by thanking the client for making time to go through the proposal.

Important Tips To Keep In Mind

Proposals are not about you, they're about them: You may be tempted to keep writing about your company and all its achievements, but remember that a proposal is always about the client and not about you. It should instead “sell the benefits” you can offer to the client.

Tell a story rather than just state facts: Storytelling in any form or medium works. If you have success stories from the past, interesting ways you cracked a solution for a client in the past, bring them out and use them in your proposal effectively. Keep the story brief but engaging.

Tailor it to suit the needs of each client: Your proposal at no cost should look like a copy-paste job. If there are no elements that are personalized for that particular client's industry or company, be sure it's going to get trashed very quickly. So take an effort to customize each proposal for each new client.

Reiterate the important points: There's a common belief for proposals and presentations that you can't stress the important points enough. So tell them and keep telling them about the key aspects of the proposal. Highlight the salient features any number of times.

Emphasise your value add through the language used: A lot of your proposal depends on the language used. You don't want to write too much or too less. But in all that writing retain the focus on the client and continue to bring out how the association will only benefit them.

Feel free to share your ideas: People hesitate to give too many ideas to a client who is still not on board. But don't refrain from sharing your solutions with the client as that's the only gauge of your expertise. Whether he partners with you or not, your job is to give the proposal as much innovation as you can.

Keep the size compact and effective: A proposal should be smooth-flowing easy-to-read and time-efficient. If it's too long, you may have to worry about the reader not reading it all and if it's too short, he may think you haven't put enough thought into it or your body of work is not that big. For this you can use one simple philosophy: give to him the size of proposal that you yourself will enjoy reading.

The Look And Feel Of A Business Plan

Focus on language: Language is paramount in all your communication as an enterprise. In proposals particularly, here are a few rules that are followed:

Use active voice v/s passive voice Keep information brief but not too brief Let the tone bring out your personality Use industry-specific jargon Ensure there are no spelling or factual errors Delete words that are unnecessary

Make bullet lists: Break paragraphs where possible into bullets, this creates a further ease in reading as well as highlights the points better.

Use data: Insert any findings you already have and present these in the form of graphs, charts or tables. This will reinforce your research as well as add visual aids to your proposal.

Include images: To break the monotony of a proposal, feel free to throw in the occasional image that is relevant. This gives relief from continuous text and also works as an effective tool in conveying your message.

Create a design: Designing proposals that are in sync with the brand's identity and logo colour scheme are common nowadays. These templates can be created by graphic professionals, design agencies or by using easily available software online. The idea is to first create a masterslide and then let each consecutive slide follow the similar theme.

Use a legible font: Use a font that is not too ornate. A sans serif font with minimum curves is preferred in proposals. The size of the font can vary depending on the page size.

How Proposal Software Online Can Help You

The benefits of using online software are many: They help you organize your information better. They provide ready templates for design. They can incorporate your branding into the design. They provide a host of graphic options, infographics and icons. They can help you track if and when the user has received and read your document. They help convert documents into PDF format. They allow multiple users to work on one document. They provide resources on creating and writing better proposals. They help you manage and archive the different proposals sent out.

Many of these software have free trial versions before you purchase them and most are in the range of Rs 2,000 - Rs 8,000 depending on the features you choose.

Some of the software available online are: Bidsketch, Xait,, NiftyQuoter, GetApp, Quoteroller, eintelli, Client Sky


Extra Income Opportunity #6: Make Thousands Each Month by Taking Your "Hobby" Online

We've presented several extra income opportunities to you. This one gets its leverage from the amazing way the Internet has flattened out the world of commerce.

Before the Internet, breaking into a new business was mostly a local affair. You got an idea, created a product, and tried to sell it in your own backyard. If it worked, you could expand outside your local market.

Eventually, if you were very good and somewhat lucky, you could have a national or even an international enterprise.

Today, the Internet gives you the chance to market internationally-from day one.

Take the idea of selling inexpensive Chinese goods to customers anywhere else in the world., for example. People in the U.S. are doing it, people in India can do it, in fact I will send you details about that opportunity very soon.

Prior to the Internet, this was a tough business to get going. You'd have to travel to China, negotiate deals with wholesalers, find a trustworthy shipper, get an importer's license, and then find a market to sell your products back home.

That would involve beginning in your local market and then gradually expanding, if you were good and successful, to a regional and then a national level. Today, you can do all that in two steps. Buy the goods you want from the sites we recommend and then sell them on eBay or Amazon or through some other Internet venue.

A recent income opportunity we discussed was blogging. Blogging is a great way for writers to make extra income by developing an Internet audience and then attaching advertising to their essays or websites.

I am new to your services and love them. I believe they are the most honest, straight- forward, and easy-to- understand material that I have ever known. Thanks. Subscriber A G. Today's opportunity is like the blogging model in the sense that it takes advantage of a website and monetizing the attention of your visitors. But the big difference is you don't have to stick to a regular publication schedule, as you do when posting to a blog.

A moneymaking website delivers a truly PASSIVE source of income. You add new content to your site as and when you want to. No schedule… no JOB.

The main thing you need is enthusiasm for something that other people are enthused about too. That could be knitting or gardening or cooking or car maintenance or pet care or cricket or brewing beer-the list is endless. The main idea is that it should be a hobby or activity that people get passionate about.

For the purpose of identifying what I'm talking about here, let's call this kind of opportunity moneymaking websites for enthusiasts.

From Passion to Paycheck

Let me give you a good example. It comes from Nick Usborne, a guy I've known for many years. One of Nick's hobbies is coffee. (In fact, when he read my Living Rich report on “Drinking Like a Billionaire,” he sent me suggestions on how to improve the section on coffee.)

In 2006, Nick was making a good living as a copywriter but he was spending almost as much as he was making. He realized that to get ahead he needed to create a second income stream. And what he really wanted was a passive income stream.

He decided to start a website on something he enjoyed and loved-coffee!

Nick wasn't an expert on coffee by any means, but he knew more about it than the average Starbucks customer. He also knew that coffee was a big, international business.

He did a quick search on the Internet and found there were already several seemingly successful websites talking about coffee, such as and

These sites were comprehensive, but because he had a copywriting background Nick knew that being comprehensive was not always a great thing. Sites that provide a great deal of general information can attract a lot of eyeballs, but sites that have authority and offer opinions are usually more effective at attracting buyers.

Further research identified a dozen more targeted sites that appealed to the connoisseur. Nick's idea was to create a site that would be more specific and opinionated than the big data-oriented sites, but also more accessible and friendly than the sites for coffee snobs.

He called his site

Coffee Detective was an instant success for Nick. It didn't make a fortune, but it did well enough to encourage him to start a few more. Each website took a little while to get going, but once it was up and running the workload dropped dramatically.

Today Nick has several websites that bring him a monthly income of up to $4,000 (over 2 lac rupees), although he's made as much as $7,877 (about 4 lacs) in a single month.

Since he started in 2006, he's made more than $200,000 (over ten million rupees!) in passive income from his websites for enthusiasts. And he never works more than a few hours per week!

Is a Moneymaking Website for Enthusiasts a Good Extra Income Opportunity?

When we introduced the Extra Income Project, we promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash… without having to leave your job, spend a lot of startup money, or kill yourself working long hours.

Every extra income opportunity we have presented to you so far has had to meet certain criteria.

These criteria include:

Anyone should be able do it (it's easy and simple to understand) You should be able to start it from home You could work part-time or on weekends You could begin without investing a ton of money.

A moneymaking website for enthusiasts fits the bill. You can start part-time with a few hours of effort per week. You can get started for as little as $100 or a few thousand rupees. And you don't need to be a computer geek or Web expert to do it.

As I said, Nick's Coffee Detective is just one example of a moneymaking website for enthusiasts. There are thousands of other examples among hundreds of topics.

Take Lisa Irby, for example. She has a passion for fitness. It started as a personal challenge to find the best ways of flattening her stomach. As a result, Lisa became somewhat of an expert on keeping her stomach flat.

This inspired her to start her own website, called Flat Stomach Exercises. She wanted to help other people battling the same problems she had. She says her website gets about 6,500 visitors per day and brings in four figures per month.

Another guy, Tomaz Mencinger, has been working in tennis clubs and academies for around 10 years. He loves to teach people everything he knows about tennis. So in 2005 he decided to create a website about his passion, called FeelTennis. Now he's able to reach thousands of people rather than just a few on the court each day.

Then we have Sara Ding. In her early 30s, she was struggling with short-term memory loss, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, and low blood pressure.

Sara was experiencing all of these health problems due to malnutrition caused by a poor diet. During her research to find out the best way to get her body the nutrients it needed, she discovered juicing. She became very enthusiastic about juicing and decided to launch her own website about it,

Today, not only is she healthy, but she doesn't have to worry about her finances anymore, either.

These websites are real. The money is real. And regular people like you and me are behind them.

And the same is true in India. Indian websites are mushrooming. I have seen successfull sites about yoga and ayurveda, beauty and makeup, cars and sports. And one of the most successful Indian websites to date was started by a young girl with endless enthusiasm for Bollywood gossip whose readership has grown from 10,000 visitors in 2010 to 500,000 today!

If this piques your interest let me walk you through the process of setting up your own enthusiast website.

But before we do that… let me ask you a question. Did you notice how all of the examples above are about people who really enjoy writing on the topics they have chosen?

In fact, they would probably write these sites without any expectation of making money. These are topics they are truly enthusiastic about. This is a game-changer when it comes to making a passive income-because you get to make thousands of rupees extra each month, but without the feeling that you are “working.”

Anyone Can Do This

You don't have to be a world-class expert to start an enthusiast website. All you need is passion, persistence, and the knowledge of how this business model works. You simply supply the passion and persistence. We will give you the knowledge of how this market works and step-by-step instructions on getting started.

Step One

The first step is to choose a hobby or activity that inspires you. Begin by scratching out a list of everything you enjoy. Make the list as long as possible. Don't worry if your passion seems crazy or even embarrassing. Crazy and embarrassing can be good!

After you have at least 10 (but hopefully several dozen) topics, you will begin to narrow them down by asking the following questions:

Is this something that is difficult or complicated? (Collecting butterflies, rare coins, etc.) Is this something that requires skill? (Golf, fishing, playing the santoor, building airplanes, etc.) Is this something that needs tools or parts? (Repairing old radios, vacuum cleaners, motorbikes, etc.) Is this something people have strong opinions about? (Wine, cooking, meditation, etc.) Is this something that sounds crazy or embarrassing? (Skydiving, sexual fetishes, eating dirt, etc.)

You are looking for “yeses.” The stronger the yeses, the better. You can then get rid of topics that don't have that many yeses.

Of the remaining topics, think about the ones that YOU feel you could really get behind and write about enthusiastically.

Step Two

This is where we figure out the online supply and demand for your topic ideas. Supply represents the number of websites and pages that have already been published on your topic by other people and companies. Demand represents the number, or universe, of people who are actually looking for information on your topic.

As you have perhaps already figured out… you don't want too much supply, and you do want a healthy level of demand.

To see the supply number, think of a search term that matches your topic and type it into the search box at Google. Just above the list of search results you'll see a number that tells you how many results are being listed.

To find the “demand” number, you can use a free tool like Google's AdWords Keyword Planner. This will tell you how many times people use that search term each month.

If this sounds complicated, don't worry. It doesn't take long to get the hang of figuring out a promising supply/demand ratio. And you'll use this ratio to identify which of your topic ideas has the most potential.

For now, let's focus on the “demand” figure, which represents your universe of potential site visitors.

Take yoga, for example, if you are enthusiastic about yoga. A quick look on Google AdWords gives me a universe of 5 million people.

That is a lot of people.

Or how about one of my favorite topics-Jiu Jitsu? Every month more than 1.8 million people scour the Internet looking for information on Jiu Jitsu.

So both yoga and Jiu Jitsu might be good topics for a moneymaking website of this kind. (When you start working on this, you'll also be looking at the supply figures, to make sure your topic isn't too competitive.)

The purpose of this step is to find a popular topic that has a sizeable universe of prospects, and not too much competition.

And yes, this process works. For example, Tomaz Mencinger, whom I mentioned earlier, is bringing in $3,000 (1 lac rupees) per month in extra income from his tennis site. And Tomaz tells us that it hasn't yet reached its full potential.

Step Three

After you have determined your topic has the universe you need, find an angle that makes it unique in some way.

I told you that Nick saw a gap between the large coffee websites that offered general information and the connoisseur websites that appealed to coffee snobs.

Every site, forum, or blog he went to was for the “coffee geeks,” the people who freak out if their coffee is brewed two degrees too hot. So Nick decided to fill gap by providing the basics.

Nick's angle was to create a website for people interested in coffee that was not too snobby, but still comprehensive enough for these beginners to become experts.

Then there's Nancy Hearn from Phoenix, Ariz. She has an incredible passion for the health benefits of water. Nancy's site, Water Benefits Health, teaches the health and fitness benefits of drinking water. Her site brings in anywhere from $1,000-3,000 per month with minimal effort.

What you are doing in this step is one of the most important things you must do if you hope to make money from your website.

Every good book on entrepreneurship will tell you that it is easier to sell a product or service if it has a unique selling proposition (USP).

Usually this is some quality or characteristic of the product or service that is lacking in the competition. But sometimes it can simply be a different approach.

For example, let's say your interest is in pet care. You search the Internet and find that it has a sizeable universe. So you think, “How can I narrow this down?” You could narrow it down by focusing on just one kind of pet, so you choose cats.

That helps but there are hundreds of websites dealing with cat care. How can you make your website unique? You decide that your website will focus on some special interest that you have.

It turns out that you are also a vegetarian. So you decide to create a website to teach and help people who want to feed their cats a vegetarian diet. This is loony but as I said, crazy is good. Sure enough, you'll find more than 4 million results on Google when searching “vegetarian cat food.”

Or you could devote your website to communicating with your cat telepathically. This is both crazy and embarrassing (or it should be), but it will certainly give your website a USP.

Not every USP sells. You will discover that later in the process-when you test your website.

Step Four

After you have chosen your topic and its USP, it's time to choose a domain name. A domain name is basically your Internet address. For example, our domain name is

It's very simple to create a domain name. All you need to do is go to a website like, type in the name of the site you'd like, and will let you know if it's available and for how much it costs.

Step Five

Once you choose a domain name, you can start setting up your website. A content management system (CMS) makes this possible. It also allows you to design, publish, and update your content seamlessly.

This used to be difficult and expensive. But thanks to sites like SiteBuildIt! and WordPress, it's simple for non-techies to do. And affordable too.

For example, SiteBuildIt! makes it easy for anyone to set up, manage, and maintain and monetize a website-without having a degree in website development. You pick a template you think best suits your website and then start filling it in. All this in one place for Rs 1500 or less each month.

Step Six

Now it's time to fill up your website with content. It needs to be chock full of facts, statistics, articles, reviews, and, most importantly, insights and opinions. It needs to show the universe of prospects that you have something useful and unique to offer.

Here are a few steps to help you get started:

Determine your audience. Are they beginners, experts, or somewhere in between?

Choose a point of view. You're an expert, and that's why we should listen to you. Maybe you're an amateur with a few years of experience. Or you're just like the reader and want to share your journey with them as you learn about your specific niche.

Remember why people are on your site, what their needs are, what questions they may be looking for answers to. Most people will come to your website in search of the answer to a particular question.

Find content ideas by using Google Alerts, Google Insights, and Google Trends. Follow related blogs, check out customer reviews, and browse newspapers and best-selling books.

Immerse yourself in social media. This not only is a great way to find inspiration for content ideas but can also tell you which aspects of your topic people get the most passionate and enthusiastic about. (Once your website is published, you can get a ton of visitors through social media too. Use our social media guide to learn how.

Write your own content-you can get inspiration from all the sources I mentioned above, but writing it in your own style with your own unique perspective is what will keep readers coming back.

Develop your own unique voice. This will make you stand out from your competitors.

Keep your writing style simple. Use short sentences and paragraphs with simple words.

Keep all your content on-topic, and optimize all your pages to get the highest possible listings in the search results. Use our Search engine optimization guide to help you.

This may sound like a challenging task, but let me assure you, it's not. The content management systems I mentioned earlier, such as SiteBuildIt!, offer tools to maximize your search results by utilizing keywords and other strategies.

How You'll Make Money With Websites

How much money can you make with a website for enthusiasts?

There's really no typical or standard answer to this question. There are websites that make millions of rupees per month and there are those that bring in just a few thousand rupees.

Since this is an extra income opportunity and not a full-time business, our marketing plan is designed to bring in hundreds or thousands of dollars, not millions. But the great thing about this kind of website is that once you get it going, it becomes relatively easy to gradually grow it without working terribly hard.

Remember Nancy Hearn? She spends just 4-5 hours per week on her website about drinking water. Spending this little amount of time will eventually bring in $3,000 (Rs 150,000) per month, she believes.

Once you have your website set up and the content on your topic loaded, there are basically four ways to generate money from your site:

AdSense (contextual advertising)

Other advertisements

Affiliate products

Selling your own products.

The “easiest” way to make money from a website is with contextual advertising.

I say this is the easiest way to make money for three reasons. First, you don't have to find the advertisers. There are services you can use that will provide them for you. Google AdSense is the most popular of these services. But there are also The Yahoo! Bing Network Contextual Ads Network, Chitika, Bidvertiser, and several others.

Second, you don't have to write and design these ads. The service company supplies them. Third, you don't have to process or track the orders.

Remember, one of the core values of this moneymaking website model is that you make PASSIVE income. With contextual ads, you just add a bit of code to your site pages, and then the ads are automatically served. All you ever have to do is check your AdSense dashboard-if you are using Google AdSense-and see how much money you are making each day.

My outlook on wealth building has changed a lot in the past year, and being a member of the Wealth Club has altered it even more. I have just finished reading The Pledge, and I bought three more of Mark's books, which I plan to finish in the next two weeks.

Thank you Mark Ford for the knowledge I have received and will receive in the future. Subscriber CXL You can also make money by hosting traditional banner ads. With banner ads, you don't get paid per click but by impression. For example, an advertiser might pay you Rs 250 for every 1,000 times visitors to your site see its ad.

This kind of advertising, by which you are paid per 1,000 impressions, can work well once you have a ton of traffic coming to your site, but it probably isn't your best option during the early months.

But don't worry. In addition to contextual advertising, there is another way to make money from day one… and this can become a huge source of income for you.

It's called affiliate marketing.

This is where you sign up as an affiliate with an online merchant or network of merchants. You link to its product sales pages from your site, using a unique affiliate link.

If someone clicks on your link and goes on to complete a purchase at the merchant website, you get a percentage of the sale price.

Depending on the nature of the product or service, this commission can range from 10- 50%. In some cases the fee can be 80% or more!, a website for students preparing for MBA entrance exams, was at one point earning INR 15 - 20000 per day from marketing alone.

Lastly, you can offer your own products or services. You can sell physical products if you want, but that involves trips to the post office. If you want to stick with the passive income model, you simply sell e-products, such as e-books and guides.

These are purchased through your site, and then the payment and delivery process is automatic. So even while you're away on vacation, your site will continue to display, sell, and collect money through e-product sales.

On her website about writing, Mridu Khullar makes good money selling a series of e-books on the various aspects of becoming a succesful freelance writer.

Once It's up and Running

Let's review the benefits of having your own moneymaking website for enthusiasts:

It's inexpensive and relatively easy to set up.

Your reach is national or even international.

You don't have to be an expert, just an enthusiast.

You can do it part time when you want from your home.

Every page you publish can make you money indefinitely.

You're building a long-term asset.

Moneymaking Websites Versus Blogging

You may be wondering what is the difference between a moneymaking website and a blog-the extra income opportunity I introduced in a previous essay.

In many ways, they are the same. You write about something that interests you. You develop readers and followers. And you advertise products and services to those readers.

One big difference is that for the most part a blog tends to be tied to its writer. And because a blog is all about the writer, it's not a very easily sellable asset.

But a website can become a very valuable and sellable asset. In fact, Nick once turned down an offer of over $100,000 ( 5 million rupees) for his site.

Why would someone offer to buy his website?

His website is focused on the brand, Coffee Detective, not Nick Usborne. In other words, even if he sells the website it doesn't affect the market… consumers will be interested in coffee whether it's Nick writing about it or someone else who shares the same passion and enthusiasm.

You might wonder why Nick refused that six-figure offer. After all, that's a pretty nice chunk of cash for what is essentially his hobby. Well, he simply did the math and figured out his site would make him a lot more than that over the next few years.

Besides which, Nick sees his coffee website as an important part of his retirement planning. When he retires, he wants a “portfolio” of websites that continue to deliver passive income, month after month and year after year.

That said, there may come a day when he does want to cash in and sell the site. And because his site is a stand-alone brand, he can do that.

Plus, blogging can be more of a JOB. To keep readers interested in your blog, you'll typically need to add a new post at least twice a week, preferably every day. This means you have to stick to a publication schedule and be at your desk.

And remember, blogs attract comments-or at least the good ones do-and as the writer and publisher, you need to be around to respond to those comments.

A moneymaking website is not a job. You can work on it every day if you want. But you can also take a break for a week or two. Nick tends to work on his moneymaking websites in bursts, when he has the time.

And when he goes on vacation for 10 days, that's fine… the site will look after itself. Not fine if it were a blog.

Does that mean blogging is bad? No, not at all. If you love to write and have no problems writing a few times per week, blogging is for you and you can make great money.

But if you're looking to create an asset that generates passive income, moneymaking websites could be exactly what you are looking for.

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Moneymaking Website?

If you'd like to learn more about how to write your own moneymaking websites, please click here now.

And for a little more guided assistance, our friends at American Writers & Artists, Inc. is preparing your free 30-day launch protocol The Secret of the 1-Hour Work Week.

By now several of you have read AWAI's reports and know that their home-study programs are designed to help people develop the critical skills to acquire financial security, independence, and freedom.

The launch protocol will give you a more detailed idea of how you can create multiple income streams by writing an information based website.

It also includes examples of how creating information websites has changed the lives of so many AWAI members.

Inside the manual, you'll learn:

The Secret of the 1-Hour Work Week

What Is a Moneymaking Website?

Explore the “Underground” World of Profitable Online Writing

Five Reasons Why You Should Get Involved

Why Publishing Your Own Information Website Is Such a Great Way to Make Money Writing Just One Hour per Week

The Foundation of Your Website

Insider Tips on Choosing the Best Topic for Your Moneymaking Website

Make up Your Mind to Get Started on Your Own Moneymaking Website

How to Accelerate Your Success by Working With the Best in the Business

Make the Most of the Extra Income Project.

Someone once said, “The best time to launch your new website is five years ago. The second best time is now.”

As a member of Wealth Builders Club India, we expose you to the some of the best ways to generate extra income. But it's your job to figure out which ones work best for you.

The manual will be ready soon. Be on the lookout for it in your inbox. In the meantime, figure out your interests andget ready.

Best, Mark

How to Take Advantage of the Freelance Economy

I spent the past five years being a freelancer, in addition to running my own enterprise, which was largely focused on design and content development for all mediums. Since I had been a part of the media and a writer and editor by profession, my freelance jobs were mostly in writing. And during that time, I wrote and edited just about any topic. From writing website and blog copy to editing non-fiction books, from press releases to advertising copy for hoardings, there was little I hadn't touched.

I have met many people who are juggling full-time jobs and freelancing assignments with quite some ease. Their freelance assignments are making them almost as much money as their jobs, sometimes even more. And some eventually break away to become full-time freelancers or “solopreneurs” as they're called today.

The number of freelancers is growing, and especially in emerging economies like India. An article titled, The Freelance Economy Is Booming. But Is It Good Business?, has shown statistics from one of the world's largest freelance websites, Elance, stating that: The U.S. has the greatest number of Elancers, with nearly 716,000. India is second, with more than 359,000; Pakistan is third, with more than 113,000; and the Philippines are fourth, with more than 89,000.

There are many reasons for the boom in the freelance economy. One primary factor being that companies are finding it more cost-efficient to reduce hires and outsource some specialized jobs. Did you know that the function of CFOs could also be outsourced? Check this Indian website which is a service provider for freelance CFOs.

Moreover as women have entered the workforce in a bigger way and are looking to pursue their careers while they continue to be caregivers, freelancing has become their chosen option, giving rise to websites like

The internet itself provides a host of money-making opportunities for those who wish to increase their income or start their own independent businesses. Thus, freelancing is not just becoming a feasible and lucrative career but also a scalable 'business'. And in this report, we'll show you just how.

Work from Anywhere Work from Anywhere Source: Pincasso / Shutterstock


Steven Bradley in How to Scale Your Freelance Business writes: “The definition of a freelancer is a person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them.”

Freelancers essentially work on assignments or projects that are typically short-term in nature and more on a contractual basis. This flexibility allows them to take on more diverse work and even work for a wide range of people in different sectors. It also gives them the freedom to choose where they want to work from and who they want to work with.

Freelancers today call themselves solopreneurs, coaches or consultants. Some even go by the title of “virtual assistants” to reassure clients that they can depend on them for just about anything.

But freelancing, just like any other business, has its pros and cons. Here's discussing a few.


You can work flexi-hours: One of the biggest benefits of a freelancer is to able to decide exactly how many hours you wish to work. And this also largely correlates with how ambitious you are as a freelancer. If you decide you want a certain turnover, then you may work more than employees with fixed hours. But if not, you can decide the number of hours you would like to clock each day, giving you ample time to take in your other hobbies and activities.
You can work from just about anywhere: Freelancing saves you the hours of commute to a workplace. It also helps you conserve energy for other activities that you wish to pursue. And with the internet and its various features and apps, you can now even set up office at an exotic location. The Suitcase Entrepreneur by Natalie Sisson specifically gives valuable tips for those who would like to conduct businesses while they are on the go, travelling to new destinations.
You can increase your income: In addition to your salary or existing business revenue, freelancing brings in that extra income, the jam on your bread and butter. And what makes it better is that the income needn't be predetermined. Your working rates can be decided by you purely by the perceived value you bring to the project on hand. You'll be surprised that on some days, the income you make freelancing will be more than your per day cost to your company.
You can build your portfolio: Freelancing is pretty much like running a business with a service you have to offer. But what makes it interesting is that every client's need will be different and this will increase your repertoire in your particular area of specialization. For example, a writer like me, who initially just wrote magazine articles went onto doing website copy, press releases and even text for calendars and other promotional material. This added to my portfolio and I could offer a wider variety of services, eventually becoming a one-stop shop for all content requirements.
You can enhance your skillset: In addition to your existing skillset, you will draw upon other skills too to promote and grow your business. Skills like marketing, accounting, and PR will be learned. Similarly you will gain more insights about the intricacies of client management. Not to mention, you will become more adept at juggling time and resources, particularly if you are already on a job and managing clients alongside.


It can be very time-consuming and with limited scale: Freelancing can become a very time-consuming process. Unlike a job it has no fixed hours for delivery. You may need to make submissions at odd hours, and more so if you you're doing it in addition to a job. Sometimes it may demand more time than was anticipated at the start of a project. If you're a consultant, you may realise that one session with a client is not enough and that you need to do more sessions and this could eat into your time for other jobs. This also means that freelancing can be very limiting in terms of scale if it is completely dependent on you and follows the 1:1 formula.

There will be days of too much work or none at all: There will be times when you will be flooded with work and enquiries and then there will be times when you're twiddling your thumbs wondering if you should get back to a full-time job. Freelancing tends to be extremely erratic by its very nature. If you're moonlighting from an existing job, this gives you some breathing time but if you're a full-time freelancer the dip in revenue and work can often be a worrying experience.

You will have more than one boss, and sometimes very interfering ones: Yes, time is not the only thing you're juggling; you will also be managing several clients at the same time. And sometimes they will all want delivery “by yesterday”. Unlike the structured nature of an organization, you will see yourself reporting to multiple clients and this can be very unnerving initially. As freelancers, get ready to accommodate clients' unreasonable demands, or other interference with your work.

You may have to chase payments: Most freelancers take a 50 percent advance before they start any assignment. But once your relationship with the client grows, this rule becomes fluid and you continue working for the client, thinking the payment will come in. By and large, a person who has been a good paymaster at the start, will be a good paymaster till the end. But there may be that odd case, where the person doesn't pay you on time and you have to constantly follow up for money which is due to you.

Clients and income can both be erratic: There are one-off clients and repeat clients and then there are clients who suddenly disappear on you. You may have started a project with someone, continued it for a year or two and then without informing you, the client either ends the association or has ended the project. Don't take it personally. The reasons for ending an association are often professional rather than personal. Similarly, if you're a full-time freelancer, a monthly income stream is difficult to predict, unless you are on a retainership with a company.

But despite all these odds, once you've decided to become a freelancer, there is nothing that can stop you from making a six-figure income sitting at home and building a vibrant work portfolio while doing so. Let's take a look at some simple ways in which you can scale up your freelance business.


Increase working hours: Most consultants charge an hourly rate or they estimate the time taken for a job and give it a fixed rate, translating to the fact that the more hours you work, the more you can bill. But while this will ensure a growing income, it may just burn you out faster. So be careful before you take on too much work. Account for time you need for other activities in the day as well.

Grow your clients: One way of ensuring a constant stream of revenue is by constantly building your client base. This will ensure more projects at any given point in time and will mitigate your risks as a freelancer. But while building your network of clients, ensure that you work mostly with those who match your own sensibilities and values as this will provide greater longevity to the association.

Increase rates: One way of increasing revenue is by increasing your charges. Freelance services more or less have arbitrary rates because the value of your services largely depends on the project at hand. For example, two lines for a hoarding which reach out to thousands of readers may cost much more than the rate of a full article, because of the nature of the medium. Similarly when you consult for a company of 100+ employees vis-à-vis a company that has 10+ employees, the rates will differ because the impact of your service differs.

Build services: This essentially means adapting your service to multiple mediums and platforms. A writer can move from print to digital to writing short scripts for films while a coach can move from offline consultations to virtual consultations and eventually group webinars. Another aspect of this is to keep adding onto your repertoire of skills and keep learning. For example, today publicists don't just offer PR but also bundle up social media and event management in their offerings. This helps clients as they don't have to deal with many agencies.

Use sub-contractors: One of the fastest and most effective ways of scaling up is by working with other freelancers who you can sub-contract the work to. This may cut into your profits initially but it will eventually compensate in terms of volume and save you a lot of time. This is the first step in converting your freelance service to a business. But while growing your network of sub-contractors, check on their credentials and deliverables. Also as a contractor, make the terms clear, give clear briefs of the work to be done, and pay your vendor bills on time.

Create a product range: Since you can't be physically present 24/7, there are some ways that you can make money even while you don't work. For instance, if you have a website which displays your services, you could also start selling other digital products like 'How-to' guides, research reports and e-books. This will ensure revenue even while you're sleeping. Another way is by selling ad space on your site and even directly selling products of other individuals and companies that align with your services.

Enhance productivity: The easiest way to do this is by creating templates. From a billing template to your briefs to the client, try and template everything. Routine jobs like accounting and other documentation like the signing of contracts can be easily templated. But even for creative tasks, a minimum templating is possible. For example, if you're a web developer, create some fixed templates from which the client can choose what he/she likes. Once that is done, the detailing and customization will become much faster. Also create a step-by-step workflow, so that you can anticipate exactly what the client needs at what stage. The more organized you are, the more productive you will be.


Project a brand, not an individual: No matter how small you start out, think and work like a brand. Even if you go by your own name, brand what you can from your stationery to visiting cards to websites and contracts. This projects you as an entity and a professional one at that. It also makes the transition from an individual service to a business easier.

Optimise the internet: The internet is a Mecca for all entrepreneurs. From sourcing vendors and clients to creating a website that displays your services and products, maximize this medium to grow your freelancing business. Additionally, use social media, apps and other online services that can help you put systems and processes in place to work smoother. For example, Google Docs can enable you and your vendors/clients to work collaboratively on a project.

Concentrate on promoting yourself: Just like any other brand or business, you have to constantly put yourself out there on all offline and online platforms. Attend networking forums, start dialogues on social media, create regular promotional material to update your clients of your recent work and keep an eye out for other service providers in your field.

Give that little extra to your clients: Freelancing is a service industry and thus it becomes extremely important to put the client at the heart of the business. It always helps to go that extra mile for clients as they will not only come back to you time and again but also put out the good word about your services. So do what it takes to put them at ease – work once more on that iteration they request, don't hesitate to give some free advice and make that extra call to see if they are happy with the work done.

Throw in the occasional freebie: This is a promotional tool that is being used increasingly by most online services. A free consultation, a free e-book or a free chapter to a paid book are some of the ways online consultants are building their client lists. This also happens offline by giving free talks at conferences that could potentially bring you more clients or by offering a free service like throwing in an e-mailer after designing a whole website.

Create a product, not just a service: When you develop products rather than services, freelancing has a higher probability of becoming scalable. Like the previous example of the web developer, you can package the web templates itself as products and create an easy-to-use manual for the client. This means you create the product just once but you benefit from its sales multiple times. Thus less effort, more revenue.

Build systems independent of you: Just like a company you manage, a freelance service is also about good management skills. So take time to put processes in place. For example, create checklists for vendors, give them the necessary brief for submissions and presentation so that each time you don't need to repeat your requirements. Use online tools like Sendible, Hootsuite etc. to ensure your social media avenues are updated without you spending too much time on them.

Sub-contract, but don't say no: When you begin to start looking at freelancing as a business and not just a solo enterprise, you will realize that just about anything can be outsourced and you can easily find a gamut of service providers. Thus don't completely reject a project till you are sure that there is absolutely no way you can deliver. Saying no to a potential client right at the start is tantamount to losing him/her forever.

Think value, not time: Very often freelancers doubt their charges, wondering if they're billing more than they should. But that's a feeling you will overcome when you truly believe that you are bringing a lot to the task at hand - you bring multiple years of experience, a skill that already has a market worth, time that could have otherwise been used on another job and finally and most importantly, you add value and make a positive impact on the client's enterprise.

Run it like a business: A freelancer can eventually become a business person and if you think like that from the start, scaling up will almost be an automatic process. But this means putting in several hours into research and development, marketing and promotions, client and vendor management and strongly focusing on revenue targets. It simply means thinking big and believing in what you've set out to do!

Are you a freelancer waiting to take off and make a mark in the booming freelance economy? If so, remember these valuable tips from this report and let us know if we've given you more ideas and spoonsful of courage.

You could also read Mark's views on freelancing in the article Retire Next Year #2 Turn Your Skills Into Cash With E-Lancing and our other WBC reports that can help you in starting your own business:

How to Craft Great Business Proposals - It has some useful strategies to bag more clients.

WBC India's Report on Social Media - It has interesting facts on why you should use social media to grow your business.

3 Letters to Make Your Business an Online Success: SEO - It shows you how to enhance your website's presence and make it more searchable on the internet

Blogging Basics for Beginners - It provides insights on how blogs can be used to promote your services.


Extra Income Opportunity #6a: Moneymaking Websites Free Report

Dear Reader,

We recently sent you Extra Income Opportunity # 6: Make $4,000 Each Month by Taking Your “Hobby” Online. Today, we're sending you a special report. It will give you a more detailed idea of how you can create multiple income streams by writing an information based website.

Inside the 30-Day Launch Protocol, you'll learn:

The Secret Of The 1-Hour Work Week

What Is A Money-Making Website?

Explore The “Underground” World of Profitable Online Writing

Five Reasons Why You Should Get Involved

Why Publishing Your Own Information Website Is Such A Great Way To Make Money Writing Just One Hour A Week

The Foundation Of Your Website

Insider Tips On Choosing The Best Topic For Your Money-Making Website

Make Up Your Mind To Get Started On Your Own Money-Making Website

How To Accelerate Your Success By Working With The Best In The Business

Please click here to access your free report. [Report available in the Wealth Builders Club Folder]

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club

Marketing Basics For Your Small Business

Ritika Bajaj I remember at one of my previous jobs, a big media house, my boss once said to me, “Marketing is the life blood of an organization. The true test of a product is when it is a marketing success.”

These words hold true for most businesses, small and big, online and offline. Enterprises see their growth and sustenance from carefully planned marketing strategies. And most organizations dedicate a large amount of their resources, both people and money toward their marketing efforts.

According to a blog, the popular electronics brand Samsung was spending more on marketing than R&D last year. It may have led to some concerns among people if it was neglecting technological innovation but in order to counter its arch rival Apple, marketing seemed to be the need of the hour. Samsung had to be heard and seen when it launched its new products.

Marketing as a term has several connotations; it is a wide term that encompasses many aspects. It is a constantly evolving concept that needs continuous rethinking and reworking. Just one report may not do justice to such a vast subject, but we believe it will give you many great ideas for your own venture.

This report will first talk about the great impact that marketing can have and some ideas that you can use to increase sales and awareness.

Simple & effective, in the marketplace! Work from Anywhere Source: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

What is marketing?

To quote from an article Marketing and advertising tips “Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” (The UK Chartered Institute of Marketing, CIM, official definition 2012.)

Thus, in marketing, the relationship with the customer or potential customer defines all the marketing initiatives. The definition also brings out the fact that marketing initiatives should eventually be profitable, they should help bring in the revenues.

All the activities undertaken in marketing ultimately determine the relationship between the enterprise and its various stakeholders.

Let's look at the popular Indian brand Nirma for example. Do you know how it started? In the late 60s, a Gujarati man Dr. Karsanbhai Patel in Ahmedabad started manufacturing detergent in his backyard. Dr Patel went door-to-door like all traditional salesmen, sold his detergent to families in the city and promised them a money-back guarantee if it didn't work. He had good knowledge of science, he priced his detergent cheaper than the ones available in the market and he finally went onto overtake the leading detergent brand Surf.

The earnest and effective marketing strategies of this man went onto create a household product that continues to ring in our minds even today. But the essence of this case study is that Dr Patel kept the consumer at the heart of his work.

Since marketing depends on relationships and relationships are sustained by positive and ongoing communication, marketing too uses communication as its basic premise.

Communication in a business could include all internal and external communications, from setting and defining the company's core values internally to using promotional tools like advertising, PR, direct marketing tools, social media and online marketing as well as tele-marketing to talk about the product offering - the trick in marketing is to use communication tools as effectively as possible.

Why marketing is important to your business?

Connects you to the customer: Marketing is really your first step in building a relationship with your customer. It is what makes the customer notice your product or service and then decide whether he/she wants to avail of it and start a relationship with your business.

Inspires brand loyalty: Just as a business needs to continue for years or generations, likewise marketing ensures that communication is an ongoing process with the customer. It ensures that your customer also believes he has a relationship with your product, and turns to you for all his future needs.

Pushes sales: Every marketing effort is ultimately directed towards increasing sales. The success of marketing is when viewers of your product convert to buyers and users, in marketing parlance these are “conversions”. Any marketing initiative should be directed by the aim of getting more buyers and users into your business.

Focuses on profits: All marketing efforts impact the bottomline of companies. Thus a company's turnover can get positively impacted if its marketing initiatives are focused and innovative and can similarly get negatively impacted if it is neglected.

How is marketing different from advertising or PR?

The term marketing is often confused and used interchangeably with advertising and PR. But they are very distinct terms.

Marketing is a larger umbrella term that includes advertising and PR, but the latter two do not include marketing.

Marketing covers everything from company values and targets, to market research and surveys, to advertising and PR, to an analysis of the final targets and objectives achieved by all these initiatives.

So what exactly are advertising and PR then?

Advertising: Marketing uses advertising to reach out to the customer. Print ads, TV ads and radio jingles as well as billboards and sales brochures, are considered traditional advertising. Online communication through Facebook ads and banner ads on websites, are a newer mode of advertising. Advertising, therefore, is the different materials and mediums used for marketing. Through advertising, businesses create unique concepts that enable brand and product recall in the minds of the customer. Like for example the Nirma jingle that became so popular, Sabki pasand Nirma…

Advertising also helps to make a marketing strategy more measurable and statistically driven by measuring viewership, responses etc.

PR: Public relations is a mechanism used to send out communication about the product or service to different media. This is done in the form of press releases which are sent out before a product or service is launched. The publicist or PR agency pushes the message to targeted media and get editorial write-ups for the product or service. This results in articles and features that make readers accept the product more readily since they are more likely to trust a publication with credibility than a new service/product. PR initiatives are also conducted to salvage the reputation of a particular service or product. Like the many interviews we see of Bollywood stars after a Bollywood debacle, with them talking more about the making of the movie, so that some part of it interests you and you still go and see it.

The Marketing Mix

The proportions in which you use advertising, PR, marketing and research depend on different factors like the product, place, type of promotion and price among the other 7Ps. This is also known as the 'marketing mix.'

For example, an individual who is merely selling his own service and credentials, may find it more effective to use PR and social media marketing where he can talk about his own views and expertise as those will display his knowledge in his industry in a more personal way.

A big electronics brand or fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company that depends on a multitude of users, may place more emphasis on traditional advertising methods that reach out to larger audiences.

Nowadays, more and more companies are using online and offline marketing tools to gain more customers.

7 Basic Steps to a Marketing Plan

Step 1- Get feedback: Start with conducting surveys to find out how your product or service is perceived. This can be done by sending out a questionnaire to a focused group. This will give you a good sense of who your customer is and what they are willing to pay. A free online service called SurveyMonkey can be used for this.

Step 2- Research market trends: Research the trends in your industry and understand what your competitors are already doing. This will help you position your services differently and help you further define your Unique Selling Proposition or USP. Search for similar words like your product or service on Google and Bing and see what comes up. Additionally, peruse websites that have similar services.

Step 3- Define your objectives: The next step is to determine exactly what you plan to achieve with your marketing initiatives. Set certain targets and goals, both quantitative and qualitative. Put a certain figure to the revenue, to the number of people you wish to reach, and state clearly the key messages that your marketing effort should communicate. These objectives can be short, medium or long term.

Step 4- Develop your key offerings: Marketing is largely about positioning and this becomes easier when you are completely clear about what you are offering and how it is different from what already exists. This gives you a competitive advantage in the market, it makes you stand apart from the rest. And more often than not your competitive advantage will be your core competence - whatever you do best, will be the best offering.

Step 5- Create a business plan: This essentially maps out the way forward for your enterprise. It will tell you exactly how much you need in terms of resources and enable you to make projections for growth. Business plans include all the costs a business incurs plus projected revenue targets and how they will be achieved and in how many phases. The clearer you are about what you wish to achieve, the easier it will be to make a marketing plan and justify its expenses.

Step 6- Determine a marketing budget: This will largely be a result of how much you can earn from the investments made from your marketing effort. Thus, projected gains from your business plan will help you budget resources to your marketing. When planning a marketing budget, you will also have to decide how you wish to allocate resources for the different streams of marketing like traditional advertising, online and electronic marketing, PR etc. Traditional advertising tends to take more monetary resources but social media marketing and direct marketing may take more human resources.

Step 7- Execute with speed: With rapidly changing market dynamics, speed will give your marketing plan an edge. As soon as you decide when and how you want to conduct your marketing initiatives, don't waste any time getting started. Roll out the plan and make iterations as quickly. Markets evolve very fast and you must too with equal speed. In earlier times, marketing was largely proactive but in today's times with the internet and digital marketing, it is more reactive. Thus be prepared to make changes in your plans and get ready for surprises.

The Marketing Mix: Use these 7Ps to grow your revenue

The 7Ps theory of marketing

What started out as the 4Ps of marketing have today become 7Ps. These Ps essentially comprise the marketing mix and will give you guidelines on how to plan your marketing strategy.

Product: Your product offering is key to marketing. Very often a product is developed first and then a demand is created for it. But the reverse actually works better. Identify what products the market needs and then determine your offering. A product can be both tangible like goods that are sold, and intangible like a consultation or an online tutorial. Several aspects make up a product like its design, technology, packaging, branding etc. But products are eventually known by their quality, and the use and satisfaction that the customer gets from it.

Price: A product's price is mostly determined by what people are willing to pay for it. The more you charge, the higher will be expectations of service and quality. That does not mean you should price your product or service cheap, it just means you should have competitive pricing. You can give further value for money by providing some value-added services. The price determined should also incorporate the profit margin.

Promotion: This could include any mechanism that a company uses to spread its message on a product or service, like building a corporate identity by designing an effective logo and name, advertising through various media like print, TV, radio or internet. Additionally launching a PR campaign, participating in exhibitions, building user-friendly websites, creating informative brochures and announcing exciting offers are other promotional methods. The basis of promotions should be a consistent and clear message, to attract the customer, present not just the features but also benefits of the product and allow the customer to communicate back to the company or service provider, also known as customer engagement.

Place: This is nothing but the marketplace for your product. If you are into e-commerce, the website is your marketplace, if you are a local retailer, the city in which you are based is your marketplace. Thus the place will determine which marketing mechanism comes into play more. You will then be able to decide better if social media marketing works better for your products or mainstream advertising and other promotions. But nowadays even websites like Flipkart are using hoardings and newspaper ads while big consumer brands are also making a social presence, but the preferred avenue will depend on the exact place you're goods or services are sold from.

People: This essentially comprises the people who represent your brand, product or service. If you take care of customer service yourself being a small business, ensure you focus on this aspect equally. It includes everything from projecting the brand values to after sales services. If you have a team of personnel, training them about the various services and ensuring they get the ethos of the brand right is one part of the marketing process. All the people you work with should more or less be speaking the same language as you.

Process: This is largely for the services industries but can also positively influence other industries. A process essentially is about how a company delivers a service. For example, how long does a web user need to wait before his transaction is complete on your website, how much time do you take to reply to a query from a client, how long do you have to wait before a call center personnel responds to your call. The smoother these processes, the more repeat clientele you will get.

Physical Evidence: It is difficult for a first-time user to decide on an intangible service and new service provider. For these reasons organisations get testimonials from their previous clients. This gives the customer some idea of prior customer satisfaction and since it is endorsed by a user and not just the company, the service offered gains more credibility. Thus keep a record of all your customer feedback and testimonials and use them as creatively as you can to market your services.

An eighth P has been added recently called productivity and quality. Productivity is about optimizing systems and costs to produce goods and service more efficiently. One way organisations increase productivity is by standardizing processes, another is by reducing costs on the production. Quality is largely relative and depends on the customer's perception but it works as the key differentiator and will bring back your customer time and again.

10 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses Think like your customer: It is easy to believe that you can sell what you want to sell. But when you think like your customer and talk like your customer, your marketing communication will become more effective.

Develop a great product: No matter how much you market, the customer will only return if you've given him a great product. So focus on building something that combines both utility and innovation, and that has quality while still being value for money.

Stand up for ethics: In a world of increasing malpractices, consumers want to know what your company stands for and how it delivers its services. They want to make sure your product or service is ethical and transparent. They want to believe they are buying services from a 'right' and ethical brand. Clearly state your value charter, be as clear and honest as you can about what you produce and how, get all the certifications and licenses you need.

Focus on building a brand: A brand ultimately gives your product its identity. Find a good name for your service or product, get a good logo designed by a small or medium-sized agency and use it in all your marketing collateral. Even if you just go by your name, choose a good font and stylize all your stationery and other material that your client will see.

Get people talking: Word of mouth is one of the fastest and cheapest ways of growing your market but it is definitely earned the hard way. It takes a lot of research, continuous innovation on the product/service and great customer service.

Network, network, network: Build a network by talking to just about everyone on your product/service. They could either convert to users or become potential vendors. Attend associations relevant to your industry and other business forums to network.

Conduct seminars, participate in exhibitions: If you are a consultant or an expert, give free talks at any avenue that you feel has the right target audience for your services. If you sell products, be a part of exhibitions, where you can take some space and create awareness without spending too much.

Try buddy marketing: This could be a great way of piggy backing on someone else's marketing campaign and they can do the same when you conduct yours. Buddy marketing, or cross promotions can be done simply by adding your own pamphlet in someone else's brochure and they can do the same when you send out any material of yours. Similarly for digital marketing, you can place your ad on someone's site and they can place their ad on yours.

Emphasise good service: When service is at the heart of your enterprise half the marketing battle is won. So find more innovative ways to enhance the customer service experience. You can make it more friendly, more prompt, be open to feedback and make changes where necessary. Also provide the added free service to make your old customers feel more special.

Create unique communications: Nowadays the avenues and scope for communicating creatively and effectively are many. They needn't be expensive either. Creating PDF brochures that don't have any mailing costs, sending out e-mailers, creating postcards and bookmarks that don't have heavy printing costs are some of the ways in which you can stay connected with your audience and inform them about your new products or services. The use of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to show pictures of your work and other social media platforms also help promote your services. Armed with these ideas, get ready to plan the marketing strategy of your own small business. If you need any help, feel free to write in to us or share your views and ideas with other Wealth Builders on WBC Conversations.


Extra Income Opportunity #7: Earn Six Figures Telling Others What to Do

This will be the 7th proposal of the Extra Income Project. (I've decided to call them “proposals” because I realize, in retrospect, that what I have been doing is making proposals to you, month after month.)

You hired me to give you suggestions for bringing extra income into your life. I promised that I'd recommend only things I've done myself. I've been doing that.

I didn't promise to motivate you to seize these opportunities, but there is no denying that I've been doing that. Despite the negative reputation of motivational writers, I find that I'm happy to be one.

Reason: Success is 10% knowledge and 90% execution. I have endeavoured to tell you the most important lessons I've learned in each case. But I'm acutely aware that if I don't persuade you to take action, I will have failed. And you will have, too.

So that's how I see what we've been doing. We have a business relationship. Our goal is your success. We cannot achieve that goal unless I give you both the knowledge and the motivation to take action.

And since I can't possibly know which of the various opportunities will work best for you, I come to you with proposals: “Here's something that might interest you,” I say. “It's an activity that can provide you with Rs. 1,000-10,000 per hour. It doesn't require any skills you can't easily learn. It doesn't require a large capital investment. It can be done from home. And you might actually enjoy it!”

Many people reading this have already selected an opportunity. Some are already generating extra income. But some, no doubt, are still waiting to take action.

When we began this project, I thought that 12 opportunities (delivered once per month over one year) would be plenty. And I still think it should be.

But I've also realized in doing this that there are certainly more than 12 good and proven ways to generate extra income. So we decided to bring in experts on these topics and have now created many more opportunities. We wanted someone who was a proven entrepreneur, someone who had multiple streams of income, and someone who was a good teacher.

The choice was obvious - Bob Bly, who is the personification of the ideas we've been talking about for the whole series.

Bob earns well over half a million dollars per year and became a self-made multimillionaire in his 30s. His income streams include copywriting, consulting, Internet marketing, speaking, and writing. Clients include IBM, AT&T, Forbes, Intuit, Brooklyn Union Gas, Siemens, and ITT Fluid Technology.

He is the author of 80 published books, including Start Your Own Home Business After 50 and How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit, both from Linden Publishing. He also writes a column on business-to-business marketing for Target Marketing magazine.

I'm very happy that Bob has accepted the opportunity to write for the Extra Income Project series. I shouldn't be surprised, because he is, after all, an opportunity seizer.

Mark, keep up the good work. I look forward to each and every thing issued by The Wealth Builders Club. Club member WN. In the future, Bob will be proposing some very interesting and attractive new opportunities for you to consider. We'll keep sending these to you as Extra Income proposals as we uncover them. He will adhere to the format we've established: explaining the opportunity, the requirements, and the challenges, and providing you with a 30-Day Launch Protocol you can use to get going if you are interested.

And today he's going to be helping me out in presenting my next proposal-a very pleasant way of generating extra income that we've both been doing for many years: making money as an independent consultant.

And now here's Bob Bly…

Is Business Consulting a Good Extra Income Opportunity?

For more than three decades, I have earned an annual six-figure income as an independent consultant-and my proposal is that you may find consulting an ideal source of extra income, too.

When Mark and his team first started the Extra Income Project, they promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. I know… that's a very broad statement.

That's why they brainstormed for months, determining very specific criteria each and every opportunity had to meet. So far, they've been successful at delivering on their promises and I am ready to continue delivering opportunities that meet their standards.

Let's review these criteria, the backbone of this project.

First, anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). Second, you should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

Third, you can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

And finally, the opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital.

After reviewing these criteria, I'm pleased to say business consulting fits the mould nicely.

Why I Love the Consulting Business

Here are some of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic about the consulting trade and its many business advantages:

Consulting can be a lucrative profession. Even a novice consultant can earn Rs. 10 lac or more per year. Some of the top independent consultants I know have annual incomes exceeding the Rs. 50 lac mark.

You can work from home. No more wearing a suit and tie, no more commuting, no more horrible bosses, no more office politics.

You can basically work when and where you want. You set your own hours. Work as much or as little as you want-spare-time or full-time. And with a laptop and a smartphone, your “office” can be anywhere you care to travel.

Start-up costs are under Rs. 50,000 and overhead is minimal. All you need to work from home is a PC, a phone, and a high-speed Internet connection.

No employees are necessary. You can have them if you want, but I prefer outsourcing routine work-proofreading, bookkeeping, graphic design, my website-to virtual assistants and service providers… again, minimal overhead.

No licenses or certifications are required. No special training. You don't even need a college degree-and certainly not an MBA.

A Billion Dollar Global Industry

In 2012, the U.S. market for management consulting grew 8.5%, to $39.3 billion. In 2013, the global market for consulting services of all kinds-including management, operations, human resources, and IT-was $415 billion.

In the United States, 991,400 people work as consultants either independently or as employees of consulting firms. Consulting fees can vary from $400-6,000 per day. A lot of consultants I know are in the $1,000-2,000 per-day range. J.A., atop marketing consultant, once advertised that he charged $2,000 per hour.

In India, too, the consulting industry has grown exponentially in the last few years. Many newcomers have entered the sector and have started lucrative businesses as consultants. India reportedly enjoys more than 5 percent of the Asia Pacific consulting industry business which was expected to reach almost 40 billion dollars by 2012. (Source)

The hot favourite areas in the Indian consulting industry are in corporate strategy, outsourcing services, human resource management and operations management. All of these consultants routinely charge a monthly retainer or project fees of several lacs.

As a rule of thumb, consultants who charge toward the higher end either possess highly specialized expertise or render a service that saves or makes the client a lot of money.

The overwhelming majority of consultants I meet charge by the hour or by the day. Some charge by the project. A minority charge based on results-e.g., an operations consultant might charge a percentage of the money his suggestions save his client.

I asked Mark what he likes best about being a consultant. Here's what he said:

The money is good, but what I like best about being a consultant is the actual experience of it. I get to work with smart, competitive, motivated people. They come to me with problems or challenges, and I tell them what I know.

I don't have to do any tedious work. I don't have to waste my time sitting in on stupid meetings that go nowhere. I simply have good, fun conversations with people who value my opinion. And a sizeable portion of my consulting these days is done at my favourite cigar bar, where I am relaxed and enjoying myself.

I don't have to do spadework, because my clients aren't paying me to do such work. They are paying me for my judgment-for the wisdom I've acquired over the years doing what they are doing now. I tell them what I know. I tell them what I think. And I don't feel obligated to do any more than that. It's a great way to make money.

I have been able to make a good living from consulting because I know something about starting and growing entrepreneurial businesses. My clients are people who want me to help them become wealthy. Giving someone the tools to double or triple their profits is something that can be worth a great deal to the right person.

Consultants are experts in a particular field, skill, or topic: e.g., financial planning, business management, fundraising, search engine optimization, social media, obtaining grants, project management, lean manufacturing. Mark is an expert in entrepreneurship, particularly taking businesses from small in size to multiple millions in revenues.

Now, at this point, you may object. “All well and good for Mark, with his many years of experience. But how can I be a consultant? I don't have any special expertise or knowledge.”

I would argue that if you believe this, you are wrong. As economist and author Gary North puts it, “You possess a lot more knowledge than you think.” Adds Gary: “I have found that successful specialists often think, with regard to their specialized knowledge, everybody knows that.

“The fact is, hardly anyone knows it. In many cases, the specialist's knowledge is valuable to those who don't possess it, far more valuable than the possessor imagines.” It is for this reason that consultants can charge a lot of money and clients will gladly pay their high fees.

How Do I Get Started?

For some people, the choice of a consulting niche is obvious. My friend E.G. was involved in a major corporate implementation of SAP software for his employer. After that, he became a successful SAP consultant, in essence telling other corporations how to do what he had already done.

If you are unsure what your consulting specialty should be, ask yourself these questions:

What do I know?

What is my education?

What is my work experience?

What are my major accomplishments?

What do I like?

What am I really passionate about?

Make a list of your answers. Review the list and identify the areas in which people or companies routinely pay money for assistance. Pick the one you like best and build a consulting practice around that field.

I think you already have a pretty good idea of what consulting is, and Mark has said it pretty well: Consultants are in the advice business. Based on our experience and knowledge, we tell clients how to accomplish goals they feel they cannot accomplish on their own.

The dictionary defines a consultant as “an expert in a particular field who works as an advisor either to a company or to another individual.”

Clients have a problem. They feel they need advice or guidance in a certain area. A woman who is getting married may feel overwhelmed by the details of planning a big wedding. So she hires a wedding consultant to help her plan the big day.

Top 20 Consulting Businesses Thriving Today

Although you can be a consultant in just about any field these days, the current top 20 consulting businesses include:

Auditing: From consultants who audit utility bills for small businesses to consultants who handle major work for telecommunications firms, auditing consultants are enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Business: Know how to help a business turn a profit? If you have good business sense, you'll do well as a business consultant, advising entrepreneurs how to multiply sales and profits or reduce costs, as Mark does.

Career counselling: With more and more people finding themselves victims of corporate downsizing, career counsellors will always be in demand. Career counsellors guide their clients into a profession that will help them be both happy and productive as an employee.

Computer and IT consulting: From software to hardware, if you know computers, your biggest problem will be not having enough hours in the day to meet your clients' demands!

Design: Almost every area of business and home life entails some form of design, from corporate logos to interior design for a home, to consumer products such as laptops, tablets, and cellphones.

Environmental consultants: These technical experts show corporations how to make their plants comply with Environment Protection Act (EPA) and other emission standards.

Executive search/headhunter firms: These people find white-collar workers for employers looking to hire support staff, professionals, and managers.

Grantsmanship: Countless organizations depend on grants to fund their work, and those grants don't drop down on them from the sky-they have to apply for them. Once you learn how to write a grant proposal, you can name your price.

Human resources: As long as businesses have people problems (and they always will), consultants in this field will enjoy a never-ending supply of corporate clients, both large and small. (People-problem prevention programs could include teaching employees to get along with others, respect, and even avoiding sex discrimination and violence in the workplace.)

Investments: Consumers turn to financial planners, money managers, and other professionals for advice on investing their money and building retirement nest eggs.

Management: Management consultants help senior executives in corporations become more effective managers and leaders as well as plan strategy and run the business.

Manufacturing: Companies need to implement the latest ideas from lean manufacturing to six sigma, but often their staff does not have the expertise-so they turn to experts in these disciplines.

Marketing: Can you help a business write a marketing plan? Or do you have ideas that you feel will help promote a business? If so, why not try your hand as a marketing consultant?

Payroll management: Everyone needs to get paid. By using your knowledge and expertise in payroll management, you can provide this service to many businesses, both large and small.

Public relations: Getting good press coverage for any organization is a real art. PR consultants provide clients with creative public relations ideas that gain media coverage and increase visibility.

Sales training: Almost all companies are under pressure to increase sales, and there is an entire sales training industry ready to show them how.

Safety: In industries ranging from construction to chemical processing, companies rely on consultants to meet the required industrial safety standards and ensure safe operations.

Social media: A whole new crop of consultants are helping clients get a handle on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media sites.

Telecommunications: Businesses both large and small rely on outside technical experts for help in implementing optimal voice, video, and data communications systems.

Web consultant: Independent Internet experts provide services ranging from website design and hosting to search engine optimization and email marketing.

How You'll Earn Big Consulting Fees

Consultants usually serve clients in one of three ways:

Advice: The consultant listens to the client's problem and goals and then advises the client on how to solve the problem and achieve the goals.

Example: Mark tells business owners how to make their businesses more money. But he does not do the actual work.

Training: The consultant trains the client and their staff to give them the skills needed to solve the problem and achieve the goal.

Example: My friend G.B. does not write letters, memos, and other business documents for corporate clients. Instead, he trains their employees in writing skills so they can turn out their own letters and memos.

G.B. specializes in business writing skills for the insurance industry. Yet he has never worked in insurance. What he delivers to clients is his extensive knowledge of business writing combined with his ability to teach writing in an effective and engaging manner.

Implementation: The consultant executes the advice after the client reviews and agrees to it.

Example: An accountant may make suggestions on how to reduce taxes, but he also does the actual preparation of your tax returns.

For many years, my friend T.K. was a computer programmer for a large electronics manufacturer. When she parted ways with her employer, she hung up a shingle as an independent website designer and also offers hosting and search engine optimization services, mostly to small local business clients.

Where to Find Clients

Who hires consultants? There are several types of clients that buy consulting services:

I don't know how to thank you enough for all the help you give us in teaching and instruction all along the way. Club member BA. Some consultants work with individuals. For instance, there are consultants who help high school seniors with their college application essays. Career consultants help individuals write resumes and coach them on job interviewing skills. Wedding consultants also work for individuals: brides-to-be.

Other consultants, such as Mark, work with entrepreneurs and owners of small- to medium-sized businesses that want to get bigger. These clients want results and practical advice.

Still others are hired by big corporations such as the Fortune 1000. These clients do like meetings and will want you to put your advice into a report. They can be bureaucratic, with layers of management hierarchy to deal with, a condition that the consultant may find frustrating and counterproductive.

Where to Go for Help

I have created an audio course “The Six-Figure Consultant,” where I go into details on the steps required to start and run a successful consulting business. These include:

Picking a consulting niche or specialty

Identifying the target market you want to serve

Deciding what specific services to offer your clients

Determining the fees you will charge

Setting up your home office

Building your reputation as an expert in your field

Generating sales leads for your consulting services

Selling your services to potential clients

Writing a consulting agreement

Establishing your working methodology

Rendering services

Getting paid

And more.

We have also put together especially for you a 30-Day Launch Protocol for “The Six-Figure Consultant” course at no cost.

The purpose of this report is to give you the opportunity to truly see how you can benefit from this and to get you started on the fast track to consulting success.

We're confident that our 30-Day Launch Protocol report can start or jumpstart your career as an independent consultant.

The Business Consulting 30-Day Launch Protocol report will reach your inbox soon.

Best, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #7a: Business Consulting 30-Day Launch Protocol Report

Dear Reader,

Earlier this week Mark sent you an extra income opportunity on how to start a consulting business. Bob Bly promised you his report, a 30-Day Launch Protocol that can 'give you the opportunity to truly see how you can benefit from this and to get you started on the fast track to consulting success.'

This report has five parts to get you started in consulting:

Is Consulting Right for You

How to Get Started

Making the Sale

Surviving As a Novice Consultant, and

Where to Go For Help.

Additionally, there are three audio links at the end to audios from Bob's course. These links are a bit heavy and may take a little time to load, so please be patient.

To access this report, please click here.

To your successful business,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club

Extra Income Opportunity #8: Make Money Importing Goods From China

Would you like a simple formula for earning extra income?

Here it is: Find a popular product that is selling for Rs. 5,000. Find someone in China to knock it off and sell it to you for Rs 500. Then sell it to the market at half price - Rs 2,500.

This is the formula the Walton family used to make Wal-Mart the biggest retailer in the world. It is also the formula that Target, Macy's, Rooms to Go, Amazon, Best Buy, and just about every other major retailer in the U.S. has used. And they account for just a fraction of the billions of dollars' worth of Chinese products imported into the U.S. every year.

Even Big Bazaar in India uses a similar format, they import items from manufacturers and producers really cheap and sell them at bargain prices to consumers.

Nobody can resist a bargain. And that's how these retailers stay in business. By selling in-demand goods at discount prices.

This is the next essay I'm writing as part of our Extra Income Project. This is about developing a part-time import/export business.

Import/export is a great opportunity for spare income. You don't need a lot of money to get started. (I'd like to say that a reasonable minimum investment is probably in the Rs 1-1.5 lac range but that you can actually “test the waters” for as little as Rs 2,500.) And you don't need official office space or a fulfilment center.

In fact, Amazon has made selling and shipping the products you import so easy, you don't even have to store inventory at home. With the right account, they'll accept your merchandise straight from your supplier, take orders online, charge the customer's credit card, and ship them the product. All for a fraction of the sale price.

Common Sense Living had featured an entrepreneurial couple Amit Sarda and Natasha Tuli of Soulflower who do exactly that - they import good quality soaps and beauty products from Thailand and other Far East Asian countries. In the last few years, their business has grown exponentially with the help of e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart, who both take their orders and oversee their execution.

What's more, this is something you can do in your spare time. By limiting the number of products you buy and sell (and by using websites like Amazon to handle your fulfilment and order management), you can limit your involvement in the business.

Getting the cash flow started may take some effort and persistence, but once it's flowing, it generally keeps flowing without much additional work on your part.

Another thing I like about this business is that it has the international dimension. Some people enjoy getting to know other countries and cultures. If you do, this may be good for you.

I have a friend named Bernard. He came to the U.S. from England about 25 years ago and started a business selling furniture shortly after he arrived. He made a pretty good living for a while because he was a great salesman. But when he started importing Chinese knock-offs of popular furniture lines, he became rich.

I have another friend, George, who made over $1 million in less than a year by simply brokering wholesale health products that he purchased in China. Once he found a Chinese manufacturer that could provide the products he needed, he phoned up the CEOs of several dozen-health supplement businesses. When they heard how cheap his products were, many of them gave him orders. Before long, he was making more money than he ever expected to make. And it was easy!

In India, Shabbir M imports a product called DampFree that absorbs the moisture in homes, offices and cars. Over the years, he has increased his product range for more diverse uses but continues to get most of his orders online.

Bernard and George experienced the immense wealth-building advantage of being able to sell a popular product for a fraction of the market price.

I have talked about this strategy for more than a decade. But until now, I have never been able to recommend a specific way to do it.

In the old days, you had to have big bucks and/or big balls to get into the Chinese knock-off business. You had to travel to China, meet with dozens of suppliers, select one you thought you could trust, and then pay him a large sum of money to meet his minimum manufacturing requirements.

But all that has changed, thanks to the Internet.

In fact, there is one site-a mega-site-that can give you pretty much anything you could possibly want. You can say what you want and how much of it you want, and it will give it to you at the price you need… almost instantly.

You can use this site-and some support services that are tied into it-to set up your own international trading business, acting as a highly commissioned broker, hooking up buyers with Chinese manufacturers.

This is a very exciting situation. For the first time in history, individuals can compete with the world's largest retailers. They can buy modest quantities of popular products extremely cheaply… and have them delivered to where they are in a matter of days.

India is a country of entrepreneurs. There are tens of millions of us who are constantly looking for ways to start new businesses to increase our wealth. Most people have no idea how easy it is to start up a Chinese import trading company… but word is getting out. The time to get into this, if you are interested, is right now.

A Program You Can Do From Home

We've included this as one of our selections for the Extra Income Project because it has all of the key characteristics we are looking for. For example, you can:

Start it from home Work part time or on weekends Begin without investing a ton of money Do this simply and easily.

If that sounds good to you, read on.

Another thing I like about this particular “extra income” opportunity is that it takes advantage of the strongest buying emotion there is: getting something for a bargain.

If you can identify a ready market and deliver to it products at half price, it makes the selling process much easier. And later on, after you have developed a relationship with your customers (after they trust you), you can sell them other goods at higher margins.

I did this myself many years ago. My partner and I had a contest and sweepstakes business that needed thousands of little gifts-such as bracelets and cutlery-as “consolation” prizes. We made a connection with a merchant in New York who was able to supply us with all sorts of inexpensive Chinese knick-knacks for pennies on the dollar.

Recognizing the opportunity, we began selling somewhat more expensive goods-watches, jewellery, radios, and even small TVs-for crazily low prices. We were eventually selling more than 30,000 items every month.

Selling inexpensive knock-offs from China is hardly a new industry. The experience I just told you took place in the '80s. Since then, Chinese goods have become a mainstay of consumption across the world.

What's new is Internet access to Chinese distributors that will permit you to buy in small quantities. This allows you to test various offers and markets while you are still in the first stage of your business development.

In talking about this to the WBC staff recently, someone asked me about the challenge of selling products in a weak economy. But here's something to keep in mind about recessions: When consumers are feeling bad about their financial situations, they don't buy fewer products (as they should). They buy more.

Buying lifts their spirits. It makes them feel better about themselves. So they buy more, but they shop for bargains.

This is a big trend. Another one is the move to online shopping. Sales on in 2005 were $8.49 billion. In 2011, they climbed to $48.08 billion. That's a 466.31% increase in online sales in only six short years.

Flipkart India is projecting sales of $ 1 billion dollars by 2015. And in 2011 their sales were only $10 million. That's how fast they see the online market growing.

The combination of bargain and online shopping gives this business opportunity a powerful advantage. It spells opportunity for the individual entrepreneur who wants to follow in the footsteps of the Walton family or the Bansals of Flipkart and get into this wonderful business of selling Chinese goods to the huge Indian market.

The simplest way to enter this business is to identify products that are already in demand and buy them from China. But you can also create your own product if you have a good idea.

Make Money With Your Own Good Ideas

An example is Valerie, a housewife who wanted to earn extra money to help pay for her kid's college education. Several years ago, there was a popular trend in children's wear called “footie” pajamas. These were soft, one-piece items that looked and felt comfortable.

Valerie had the idea that adults might want to have their own footie pajamas. She had no experience in the textile business and knew nothing about product sourcing or how to run an online business.

Yet, using very little money, she was able to create a home-based business that eventually grew to seven figures. These days, she works according to her own schedule and answers to nobody but herself. She is very happy with her new life. She attributes her success to finding a source that allowed her to import the pajamas exactly the way she wanted them, for pennies on the dollar, from China.

Similarly Neha Agrawal launched, an online portal that caters only to expecting mothers and toddlers. Her wide range of online mothers' and children's products include everything from clothes to party paraphernalia. All with the basic aim to make a mother's shopping easier online. She imports most of her stuff from China and some other countries to cater to all types of demands.

There are plenty of others like Valerie, too. For example:

A woman, pregnant with her first child, started her business back in 2004. She needed some maternity wear but didn't like what was available at the stores she shopped in. The clothes were bland and unflattering. She was looking for something a little sexier and more exciting, but the only places that carried what she wanted were very expensive boutiques. She figured there were a lot of other pregnant women in the same boat. So she found a source in China for the kind of maternity clothes she wanted to wear and went into business. Today, her company brings in over $1 million per year.

A married couple started importing flags from China in 2001 and reselling them on the Internet. Their business took off right away, so they expanded their offerings. Now they are generating revenues of more than $25 million per year!

In Mumbai, two brothers Nirav and Sunil D. import sports water bottles, melamine crockery, home artefacts and even games like chess boards and poker sets from China and sell them online through their website. They now also personalise the products for big orders from corporates and sports teams.

The Opportunity Is Yours for the Taking

You can start your own business by importing Chinese goods and selling them directly or on the Internet. You can get exactly what you want and have it made so cheaply you probably won't believe it at first.

You can have the manufacturer deliver it wherever you want, too-to a distribution warehouse, to a wholesaler, or to the end customer. It's as easy as pushing a few buttons. That's how sophisticated this “underground” market has become.

What you need first, though, is just a little bit of education. You need to know how to:

Research all the really hot markets right now

Locate reliable manufacturers

Create purchase agreements that ensure your full satisfaction

Find buyers eager to take your products at big discounts.

A few years ago, I worked with an entrepreneur named Marc Charles who had experience importing products from China. The idea was to create a program that would give the beginner all the information he needed to start an import/export business. We agreed that the program:

Must be easy to understand

Should be written for the layman who has no experience importing or selling products

Must cover all the bases, from understanding what sells to locating the right manufacturers and getting the product into the hands of the right buyers

Needs to explain how this business can be started on a kitchen table

And finally, it must be something our readers can set up for themselves part time or on weekends.

A couple of months later, he sent me the product to review. It met my requirements in spades.

Now Is the Time to Take Action!

Here are eight reasons why you should consider getting into this market right now:

You can start out small. Many an empire has been started from a spare bedroom or the kitchen table. You don't need a huge office or a lot of overhead.

You will be your own boss. No more stupid memos and dress codes and meetings! You have the chance to do everything the way YOU want to.

You can make your own hours. You can work two hours in the morning and go golfing the rest of the day, if you feel like it.

You have unlimited profit potential. You can make as much money as you can spend. Want to make an extra Rs 10,000 per month? Okay. Need to make an extra Rs 6 lac? No problem. It's all up to you. The sky's the limit.

You don't need any employees. (If you've ever had employees, you know what I'm talking about.)

You can run your empire from anywhere. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Go ahead, work from the side of the pool. It'll be our little secret.

You can learn everything you need to know in under an hour.

But I left the best for last…

You don't need to have a ton of money to get started. You'll actually learn methods that can get you started for less than a few thousand rupees.

Import/export is a multibillion-dollar industry. And the fastest growing portion of it, I predict, will be small- time entrepreneurs taking advantage of the new Internet technology.

AWAI's travel division has put together a special report about this extra income opportunity that you will receive next. This report will introduce you to the art of buying products overseas and selling them for big profits.

It'll walk you through the steps you need to get up and started in less than a week using sites like Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo Small Business and even Flipkart and Jabong in India, that handle all of the fulfilment and hard work for you.

In this report, you'll also meet my friend, Marc Charles.

He is often referred to as “The King of Business Opportunities.” He has launched more than 40 successful businesses over the last 28 years (and advised on many more). One business (an ad rep agency) produced more than $6 million in sales in 36 months with a start-up budget of less than $2,000.

Marc began his Internet adventure in 1993 by reviewing more than 8,500 websites for Yahoo! Unplugged. His reviews (which became a best-selling book, online resource, and interactive CD) were featured in Wired, Bloomberg Personal, Internet World, Internet Edge, Web Digest, and Business 2.0. In 1999, he developed the first email newsletter advertorial. (And email advertorials continue to be one of the most powerful marketing tools on the Internet.)

Marc's passion is identifying brick-and-mortar and Internet business opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs.

With the Importing Fortunes program, his goal is to help aspiring entrepreneurs get in on this lucrative market quickly and easily.

If it feels like I am really trying to sell you on Marc's program, it is not an accident. I believe this is a bigger market than information publishing, and information publishing is the business that has, until now, been my No. 1 recommendation to aspiring entrepreneurs.

But I like this better because you don't have to know anything about writing to get in on it.

Plus, the market for manufactured products is even bigger than the market for information. All you have to do is find out what consumers are already buying and then sell them the same things at a fraction of the cost.

Remember… this is the beginning of a big trend. The sooner you get in on it, the better you will do.

Best, Mark


Editor's Note:

Dear Reader,

The idea of starting a business without a great deal of planning and proposals, risk assessments, and investments, seems a lot to digest. But after digging into this idea a little bit I'm completely convinced of its viability. has recently started a marketplace in India, only their tenth in the world. As Mark mentions above, their fulfilment service handles everything from receiving your products from oversees suppliers, storing and shipping them, to handling customer service and returns. And better yet, they are offering promotional prices for a whole year that will cut your costs almost in half.

One WBC member has recently started selling a variety of products online through Amazon's FBA service (Fulfilment by Amazon) and is having great success. It's hard work, he said, but it works, and trying it at a small scale had given him the confidence to expand and go bigger. Another WBC member, JJ, wrote this helpful article on Amazon's services.

The most intimidating part of the process to me is all the customs and duties issues that importing from China gives rise to here in India. However, a browse online also showed me that there are quite a few reliable importers who will handle everything import related for a customer, with completely transparent and easy-to-understand costing structures.

And then, of course, there is Alibaba, the world's largest online marketplace connecting buyers and sellers. They stock absolutely everything, have great pictures of the products, and their Gold level suppliers always prove to be reliable. And you can simply check online for inexpensive, hot selling items, and order them from Alibaba.

However, the thing that makes this venture most doable in India is the idea that if the product is branded well, and cleverly enough, you don't have to import from China at all. You can source inexpensive products from within India itself and sell them at any of the online businesses that have exploded onto the scene recently, such as Myntra, Flipkart, etc.

Do read the free report that Mark recommends in his essay when you receive it next, as it will give you a clearer idea of what you need to focus on to ensure a successful business, and higher earnings.

And please do write to us with your questions and thoughts on this approach. As always, I will address them in my next update to you.

I wish you great eCommerce success,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club *

Extra Income Opportunity #8a: Understanding the Export-Import Business in India

Recently we sent you Mark Ford's essay on making money through import-export, and you were interested in knowing more about how the export-import industry works in India. And rightfully so, because this is a growing business both online and offline.

You wanted to learn about the licenses you needed, required regulatory procedures, the shipping charges, the websites to go to, the payment modes, etc. So in this report we are providing a list of FAQs that will answer some of your queries.

This essay is a starting point, and it leads you to many great additional resources you should refer to for details on the different areas we discuss. We found many useful online resources that have extensive information on export-import. There are dedicated websites dealing with the subject, even the Government of India has provided sufficient easy-to-read guidelines on the trade, all of which you will find here.

From starting a business to choosing your preferred import-export products to how to market and sell, to how you can settle disputes, you will find most of the information you need in these resources.

We also recommend that before you start your export-import business, you should consult your legal counsel or any other tax consultant or government agency. Forewarned is forearmed, so get all the procedures double-checked before you start.

Before starting an import-export business

A necessary pre-condition of import-export is to do ample research and to understand various trade guidelines in your own country, as well as those of the countries you’re dealing with. Foreign trade agreements are a good place to start. They tell you about all the rules and regulations, custom duties and waivers and eventually help you prepare a business plan.

Another aspect that Jayden William writes about in his article Starting an import export business: Basic guide for beginners , is to evaluate your company's “export readiness”. “Planning for export should be done only, if the company's assets are good enough for export. While planning an export strategy, it is always better to develop a simple, practical and flexible export plan for profitable and sustainable export business.”

Once that is done, the next step is to choose products that you would like to import or export.

How to choose products

Choosing a product is an important part of this business. While you can look at it as purely a business and merely conduct transactions, it helps if you inherently have an affinity for the products you're dealing in.

One way to choose products is to find hot-sellers in different countries. These can be done by following government statistics, trade organizations like Chambers of Commerce of the different countries you're looking to work with or even some websites like InfoDriveIndia, EximPulse, Government of India's Department of Commerce, EximGuru.

A good way is to understand the product before you start dealing in it. Find out its intricacies, its shelf-life, its handling, its packaging, the amount of storage space you'll need for it etc.

The next step can be to make a list of all the probable products you would like to import or export. Then tick those that you feel match your strengths, either in your knowledge about it or in your ability to market it. For example, if you already know a network of people who would be interested in placing orders for a particular product, it helps get you initial business.

If you have an existing business, try and import or export products that support the core rather than branching out too far. Your business experience will also help here.

Some FAQs on Export-Import

We directed some of the questions members had asked us to people who are already in the business. Here's a short QnA with Neha Agrawal who runs two ecommerce sites importing foreign products ( and promotes the sales of local handicrafts (

To import anything from outside the country does one need an import-export license. If yes, where can one procure the same?

Yes, to import or export anything of commercial quantity / value we need to have an Import Export Code (IEC). The IEC can be procured from the concerned Regional Authority (RA) of Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

(We will give you more details on EIC below.)

How are the general practices for payments in this line?

Followings are options for terms of payment: Advance Payment/ Part advance Letter of Credit (L/C) Documents against Payment (DP) Documents against Acceptance (DA) Telegraphic Transfer (TT)

Mode of payment would always be through a banking channel, the general practice is around 30% advance and balance on receiving a scanned copy of the commercial invoice and *Bill of Lading (B/L)

(*A bill of lading is a document issued by a carrier detailing out the shipment of the merchandise. It helps guarantee the receipt of payment from either party.)

How are shipping charges calculated?

Yes, air or sea freight are both typically pre-paid by importer. Freight is calculated based on gross or volumetric weight and port of pick-up and shipment. There can also be some unforeseen charges that an importer may have to bear once goods arrive at the destination. Examples of these charges are: Delivery Order charges (DO), Destination Terminal Handling Charges (THC), washing charges, container maintenance charges, service tax etc.

Shipping charges for any single destination will vary from season to season, volume, frequency, transit time, gross weight etc. Before handing over cargo to shipping line, one should also negotiate with a different shipping line to compare prices. Our practical experience says that it is best to have clear commercial terms in writing.

Do suppliers ship the product to your doorstep or are they picked up from a specific location?

Both options are available - a supplier can book cargo for delivery up to your doorstep or you can pick it up from Container Freight Station (CFS)/ Inland Container Depot (ICD)/ airport. At times it is more convenient to ask a supplier to book cargo up to CFS/ ICD/ airport only, then appoint a reputed Custom Broker (CHA) who will arrange custom clearance and local transportation for delivery up to your doorstep.

Do websites like Alibaba have a minimum purchase quantity and how can one procure lesser quantities?

Not aware of any specific large players. We at Folkbridge are also working on this opportunity. So far our focus has been to supply Indian handicrafts for decor and gift needs to retail and bulk customers in India. However, we are also working to supply to overseas clients in smaller quantities at reasonable prices.

(It is largely the prerogative of the wholesaler to decide how much the minimum quantity of import or export should be. Thus, negotiations and understanding between the two parties involved is a key determining factor for deciding terms.)

Which online payment gateways are safe and reliable?

Paypal has been a good experience for us so far.

Does one need to start an escrow account for import-export of online/offline products?

Recommended, but not necessary. One should undertake some due diligence through one’s banks/ other sources on a case-to-case basis.

(Nowadays most importers and exporters are avoiding using an escrow account, the nature of the business does not require it.)

What are the specific government regulations one needs to keep in mind?

In the import-export business classification and valuation are most important, however additional conditions depend on the product. For example, if you are going to export a food product you need to have registration in the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and APEDA, if you want to export medicines/drugs, you need to have permission from the drug controller.

Which countries are easy to work with?

US, EU, Japan, Australia etc, but must be careful with African, Latin American and Gulf countries.

(Each country has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each country has their own varied range of products. As trade is increasing globally, challenges and disputes are also getting resolved more easily.)

Registration and documentation procedures in India (Excerpted from the website:

Rental agreement / or own property: Once after forming a firm name, you need to have a rental agreement with the premise owner. This rental agreement may be required for various government authorities to register your address proof of the firm.

PAN - Permanent Account Number: Here, if you are a sole proprietor of your firm, your individual PAN number is sufficient. However, if the firm is a partnership one, a separate permanent account number - PAN in the name of the firm is required to be obtained from the Income Tax Department. Interesting Facts on Import-Export in India

Top 10 exporters to India: China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Switzerland, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Germany, Indonesia (Source)

Top 10 importers from India: USA, UAE, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, U K, Germany, Brazil (Source)

Top Exported Products from India: Cable, Cotton Yarn, Wool, Basmati Rice, Pharmaceuticals, Brass, Banana, Furniture, Onion, Tobacco, Frozen Food (Source)

Top Imported Products in India: Aluminium, Plastic, Brass, Rubber, Finished Leather, Camera, Crude Oil, PVC, Resin, Fertilizer, Gear Machine, Printing Ink (Source)

Partnership agreement: If your firm is engaged in a partnership, you need to a have a partnership agreement between partners with terms and conditions as per the Partnership Act. The complete details of terms and conditions among partners with the share of profits should be mentioned clearly in the agreement.

Current account opening: Open an account with a bank that has effective export-import services and does not delay in crediting foreign exchange… preferably with a bank with exclusive international business.

Import Export Code: If you need to export or import from India, you need to obtain an Import Export Code IEC from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) within the jurisdiction office where your firm is situated. Without an IEC code, no movement of goods from/to the country is allowed.

Registration with central excise department: If your products fall under excisable goods, you need to register with the nearest central excise department to claim necessary export excise benefits.

Registration Cum Membership Certificate: Many government agencies support exporters at various levels to boost the export of the country and such agencies extend all support including financial support to exporters. To avail of such benefits, an exporter needs to register their product and obtain Registration Cum Membership Certificate from respective agencies.

Registration with sales tax office: Exporters are eligible to claim sales tax benefits against exports. So after completion of necessary IE code procedures, register with the Sales Tax authorities under your jurisdiction area to obtain the necessary guidelines as an exporter or importer.

Note: Before setting up an export-import firm in India, you may once again reconfirm the procedures and formalities with necessary government agencies.

Some Useful Tips Before You Start (Excerpted from the essay: How to Start and Operate Your Own Profitable Import/Export Business At Home) You don't need previous experience in the field, but you should have a good head for organizing. Fulfilling a successful import-export business requires constant attention to little details.

Take a look into the import-export business. Consider the risks, and consider the advantages. Talk to people in the business. Is it for you?

An import-export agent is a matchmaker. Manufacturers of domestic goods seek foreign distribution; foreign manufacturers want a local market.

Start small - don't tackle the world. Find out about the countries, what they have to offer, and what is generally in demand.

Keep informed. Read everything you can find about world trade. Look at trade publications, international newspapers, news magazines, and financial reports. Who is selling what to whom?

You will become more familiar with the terms of shipping used in quoting prices and delivering goods as you gain experience. Your responsibilities vary with the terms of the agreements and orders.

A freight forwarder is a person who takes care of the important steps of shipping the merchandise. This person quotes shipping rates, provides routing information, and books cargo space.

Never work on promises. Not only do you take a gigantic risk, but you create bad risks for everyone you are involved with.

Importing requires the same diligence and follow-up as exporting does. Investigate the reputation of the manufacturer and the reliability of the goods.

The profit of the import-export business is in the quantity of the goods traded. The higher the cost of the merchandise, the higher the profit from your percentage.

Don't be hasty for orders. Investigate the manufacturers and distributors to be sure the products and sales methods are reputable.

The import-export business is not for everyone. But it is a personal operation that you can run yourself - you don't have to answer to anybody.

While this article shows you how to start an import-export business of your own, if you wish to start small you could also explore the possibility of selling products online, through import agents who handle all aspects of the import process, and leave you relatively free to simply focus on the selling.

Either way, we see this is as a booming extra-income opportunity that you may not wish to miss out on.

Resources >

Extra Income Opportunity #8b: How to Import a Fortune From Right There at Home and Build a Million-Dollar Import/Export Business

Dear Reader,

In the last essay Mark sent you an extra income opportunity that several of you had been waiting for, and I believe will benefit from. 'Import/export is a multibillion-dollar industry. And the fastest growing portion of it, I predict, will be small- time entrepreneurs taking advantage of the new Internet technology,' Mark said.

Mark also promised you a special report about this extra income opportunity that will introduce you to the art of buying products overseas and selling them for big profits.

It'll walk you through the steps you need to get up and started in less than a week using sites like Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo Small Business and even Flipkart and Jabong in India, that handle all of the fulfillment and hard work for you.

In this report, you'll meet Marc Charles. He has launched more than 40 successful businesses over the last few decades. One business (an ad rep agency) produced more than $6 million in sales in 36 months with a start-up budget of less than $2,000. This report also talks about his 'Importing Fortunes' program, which helps aspiring entrepreneurs get in on this lucrative market quickly and easily.

So click here to access the free report, and as always, do let us know what areas of questions and challenges arise for you.

To your entrepreneurial success,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club

Extra Income Opportunity #9: Enter the World of Information Marketing - Make Money Selling What You Know

You deal with it every day.

You receive it from many sources.

And it has the potential to make you a small fortune… It's information. Information is easily available today. But it hasn't always been this way.

Back in 1450, Gutenberg invented metal moveable type (the printing press) to publish books and pamphlets.

In the 1730s, the first magazines were printed.

And starting in 1836, the first paid advertisements ran in newspapers.

Skip forward to the 1980s, when Apple introduced the first desktop computer. Now control over production was available to people outside the publishing industry.

The combination of the desktop computer and the Internet made possible your Extra Income opportunity for today: information marketing.

I got started in the information business in 1981. My friend, info-marketing guru Fred Gleeck, proposed the idea.

At first, I thought, “Who needs this? I write real paperbound books for real publishers.” But I decided to give it a go.

I started with an e-book on freelance writing called Write and Grow Rich. To date it has sold more than 1,300 copies.

I saw there was a huge market for information products and a lot of opportunity to grow. So I continued down the path of marketing information products online.

The second information product I sold was on Internet marketing, “The Internet Marketing Retirement Plan.” It was even more successful.

Since the Internet has created a worldwide marketplace, average people like you and me can start businesses and take control of our own income.

What Is Information Marketing?

You may be asking, “What is an 'information product' or 'info product?'”

An info product is any written, audio, or video content that teaches the reader how to do something. This could be how to invest for retirement or a tutorial on building birdhouses.

Info products include, but are not limited to, books… e-books … webinars … podcasts … videos… CDs… special reports… seminars… boot camps… coaching… online classes… newsletters… membership sites… and more.

Prices can range from Rs. 25 for a short e-book to Rs. 25,000 for a weekend conference or boot camp.

According to the consulting firm OutSell, last year American businesses and consumers spent over half a trillion dollars buying information products.

And this trend is slowly being replicated in almost every other country.

Creating and selling info products is big business.

Why Information Marketing Is the Perfect Home­Based Business

When Mark began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you a dozen ways to generate more cash.

To follow through on his promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined specific criteria every opportunity had to meet before they brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria to see how solid this opportunity is:

Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

In information marketing, there are things you must learn. But it's not rocket science. And in your 30-Day Launch Protocol, which will reach you soon, you will learn what you need to know to get started.

You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

You do not need an outside office or warehouse to be an information marketer. You can do it at home. All you need is a desk and a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. With a laptop, you can even do it at your kitchen table, local coffee shop, or on the beach.

You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

Since you don't have to meet or talk with anyone on a daily basis, you can do the work whenever and wherever you please. And the “work” will take only a couple of hours per day.

The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital.

You can get started in information marketing with just a few hundred dollars.

After reviewing these criteria, I'm pleased to say information marketing fits the mold nicely.

But what makes info marketing any different from other forms of Internet marketing? Let me explain…

Information Marketing: The Real Story

Producing good information is far more lucrative than focusing on making a lot of money quickly. The reason is that you build trust with your audience. And they'll come back to buy from you again.

Information marketing has received a bad rap because some marketers have defrauded their audience by selling them a lot of junk and delivering little value.

A lot of these information marketers brag about how they are making fortunes on the Internet, showing pictures of their mansions or Rolls-Royces on their websites.

But you wouldn't be that type of marketer. You wouldn't sell people junk.

Thankfully, there are other industries in which marketers take a different, more low-key sales approach. These information marketers sell “how-to” advice on everything from fashion and relationships to auto repair and carpentry.

The possibilities are endless.

Here are some topics that sell well on the Internet:

Money-making topics: starting and running a small business, investing, trading, or self-employment opportunities Relationships: getting a date, finding romance, finding a spouse, or attracting the opposite sex Major consumer purchases: buying a used car, buying a vacation home, saving for your child's college, or buying a boat Hobbies and crafts: coin collecting, sewing, macrame, model-building, or even gambling Health and fitness: exercise, weight loss, self-defense, or nutrition.

Is Information Marketing the Right Extra Income Opportunity for You?

Information marketing has a number of advantages.

First, every info product you create is unique. No one else can sell that particular product, unless you permit them to, since no one else will have the same knowledge, wisdom, and experience to share.

With merchandise, you sell products bought from a wholesaler or manufacturer - just like countless other online marketers who sell the exact same products on their sites.

But info products can be electronic. Instantly delivered over the Internet-they eliminate the headaches of shipping merchandise.

There is no cash outlay. No inventory to buy. No high-rent facility to store your inventory.

Here are two examples of people who have done it:

P.Y. was a motivational speaker who taught businesses how to use marketing effectively. She did this by going to conferences worldwide.

She would try to sell her books in the back of the room after the events for next to nothing.

But no one would ever buy them. With 100 gigs per year, P.Y. grew tired of flying.

Today P.Y. hosts tele-seminars and sells bundles of her recorded and written advice via advertisements on many industry websites.

And she does this all from her home… or while on vacation.

After a long battle with multiple sclerosis, M.L. decided to use the wisdom he had gained from his disease for the larger good. M.L. first started doing seminars for combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders on how to take control of their conditions.

To expand his business, he turned his seminar material into e-books.

M.L. is legally blind, so he must work with website developers to help him with his websites. He continues to make money while inspiring people through his e-books, which he sells on Amazon and his own website, and he still does the occasional in-person seminar.

These are just two examples of people with different experiences and skillsets, taking control of their financial situations. They decide their own hours and work from the comfort of their home. And there's no reason why you can't do the same.

Does the idea of distributing your expertise (on something that you're passionate about) appeal to you? Let's look at what it takes to get started.

How to Get Started

You do not need to be a Web genius or tech-nerd to get started.

What you do need is the willingness to produce high-quality, useful content. And the desire to continue learning to provide more value to your audience.

Step One: Choose a Niche

The first step in becoming an information marketer is to pick a niche or topic. All the information products you produce will relate to this core topic. For instance, if your core topic is gardening, you might produce a report on hydroponics, but not on auto mechanics.


To succeed as an Internet marketer, you must be a specialist. You can't be a freelance writer, jumping from topic to topic. People buy info products from people they consider experts. If every book you write is on a completely new topic, you do not establish yourself as an expert in any particular field.

Also, information marketers build lists of people who are interested in getting information on a particular topic. If these people join your list because you offer information on website design for example, they will likely not buy a book on sculpture from you.

How to Choose Your Niche

Of course, your info product should be something that you know a lot about. You may think that you are not an expert in anything. But I assure you, you are. With the wide array of information on the Internet, there is a “how-to” product for almost every possible skill or hobby. If you are only good at writing in cursive, for instance, someone will want to learn that skill.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about what to choose as your field of expertise:

What is something that friends and family come to me to get answers about?

What are some of my favourite activities?

What is something that I pride myself on? (My garden, housekeeping, budgeting, investment choices, etc.)

What skills has my career taught me?

As mentioned earlier, you can publish your information in many different formats. Here's a shortcut to creating your first product…

Step Two: Create Your First Product

Make a list of questions your potential customers might have about the topic. Then, have a friend ask you the questions. Record yourself answering the questions. You can capture the conversation with a digital recorder, on a conference line (such as, or with a video camera.

In India you can use websites like: Sabse Bolo, Free Conference Calling and Eagle Conferencing

Then you can post the recording on the Web and start selling it. Or sell a physical audio CD that you ship to the customer. You can literally create your first info product in about an hour!

A variation of this is to invite people to attend a one-hour tele-seminar. You can offer it free or charge a small fee. If you want to charge for it, simply record the event and sell the audio recording after the seminar is over.

I Have My First Product, Now What?

Once you have a product, you must take several steps before launching your information marketing business.

When you read these steps, don't get too afraid. They are much easier than you think. Some steps will require general knowledge that we will teach you. Other steps will require specialized skills that you should already know. If you don't know how or don't want to do something, you can outsource it.

You can hire people who do the things that you can't-for peanuts. One source for help is You can hire website developers, programmers, and copywriters. Other resources include (similar to Elance) and (where you can hire people from around the world to do something for only $5).

In India, avail of websites like and

Step Three: Get Your Own Website

There are four parts to starting a website:

Choose a company to store your website.

Build the layout and look of your site.

Set up a shopping cart on your website to take orders.

Choose an autoresponder to follow up with clients through e-mail.

To begin with, you need to create a simple website on which you advertise and sell your products.

Your first step to getting online is to choose a name for your website.

Your website name (also called a “domain name”) is what people will enter into their browser to find you. It is simple and affordable to buy a domain name through a company such as or

For India, in addition to the local GoDaddy you can visit websites like Big Rock, and India Domain for good deals.

Next, to get your website online, you need to choose a company to store your website and all of its information. This is a hosting service. It runs about Rs 125 onward per month.

Normally the same sites give you a domain name and provides the hosting facility.

Once you have your company chosen, you can begin to build your site. There are plenty of vendors who can write the copy and design your website (also called a “landing page”). Or you can try writing your own sales copy. To see a sample landing page, go to

[“Copy” is what marketers refer to as the actual text, language, and promise of an advertisement.]

Make sure your hosting service has a customer-service phone line staffed by real people. When your website goes down, you want to get it taken care of right away. The longer your website is down, the more customers you are losing.

When you've chosen your hosting company, ask if it can work with you to install the shopping cart software on your site. When you buy something online, this software lets you place your order and pay for it with a credit card. I recommend the service Web Marketing Magic.

Web Marketing Magic also comes with a type of software called an “autoresponder.” This software can automatically send out e-mails at predetermined times. For instance, when someone orders an e-book from me, they immediately get an e-mail with a link that allows them to download the book.

This happens automatically. I don't have to do anything, other than writing the initial e-mail copy. Automation is one of the benefits of Internet marketing. There is very little routine labour on your part.

How You Make Money

There are two ways you make money as an info marketer.

Income Source #1

The first is direct sales of your products. People visit your landing page, read your copy, want the product, and click on a button that says, “Order Now.”

The order button is hyperlinked to your shopping cart where the customer can order and pay for the product online. It's all automatic. No labour on your part is required.

You make money on every sale. For electronic products such as streaming video and e-books, there is no product fulfilment or shipping cost, so you keep 100% of the money.

For physical products, such as DVDs and audio CDs, your profit is the sale price minus the cost of goods. You also pay for shipping and handling, but you can add that cost to the price of the product so you don't pay for it.

Income Source #2

The second source of income, known as “affiliate sales,” is when other marketers sell your info products to their customers. In exchange, you pay them a commission on each sale ranging from 25-50%.

A great way to start building your business is by affiliate sales. At the start, you'll likely have very little Web traffic and a tiny e-mail list of prospects.

By getting bigger info marketers to suggest your product to their large prospect lists, you can make sales you would not have acquired on your own. One time, an info marketer sent an e-mail to his list of 450,000 subscribers advertising a $19 e-book I publish. Within 24 hours, we sold 982 copies.

Expanding Your Info­Marketing Business

Here is something you may not know about the Internet marketing business: One of the best ways to make sales is to build your own list of prospects. Capture names and e-mail addresses and then e-mail sales messages to them promoting your various products.

Some Additional Resources

The Official Get Rich Guide to Information Marketing: Build a Million­Dollar Business in 12 Months By Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, and Robert Skrob

Sell Your Brain Power: Information Marketing in 7 Easy Steps By Fred Gleeck

Outsourcing Mastery: How to Build a Thriving Internet Business With an Army of Freelancers By Steve Scott

Terry Dean

Offers coaching to beginning Internet marketers

Fred Gleeck

Another good Internet marketing coach One word of caution: You can't simply gather email addresses, put them on a list, and start e-mailing promotional messages to them. That's spam, and it is illegal. It also doesn't work.

What does work is to have a page on the Web where people can voluntarily join your e-mail list (a process called “opting in”). The page where people enter their e-mail address is a “squeeze page.”

To get people to opt in to your e-mail list, you must offer something valuable to them. Typically, you offer a free e-letter and some other incentive such as a free special report. For an example of one of my squeeze pages, click here.

Of course, you first have to get people to your squeeze page to see your free offer. There are many different ways to do this. Some examples include banner ads, postcards, Google AdWords, e-mail marketing to rented e-lists, and advertising in other people's e-newsletters.

Banner ads are the ads that you see at the top or on the sides of websites. Postcards are exactly what you think… but instead of saying “hello” from a vacation spot, they advertise for your product. They are very successful, since the potential customer usually receives them at home.

Google AdWords has changed the face of Internet marketing. You choose one or more keywords that are relevant to your product. This helps match the person searching for answers to you.

For example, if someone searches, “How do I perform basic maintenance on my motorcycle?” and you sell an information product on how to maintain your motorcycle, you may choose the keywords “motorcycle,” “maintenance,” and “DIY.” Click here to learn more about Google AdWords. It can be one of the best ways to sell your product.

A technique that has worked well for me is the “swap.” Here, you approach an Internet marketer who reaches the same audience as you. You say you will send an e-mail to your list offering a free subscription to their newsletter, and in exchange, they will do the same for you. I have acquired hundreds of new subscribers every time I have done it.

Now, here's the trick: Don't disenchant people by bombarding them with sales promotions as soon as they sign up for your e-letter. They will leave or “unsubscribe” from your e-list.

Remember what I said: First send them free yet valuable content on your topic. If you demonstrate that your information is high quality by giving free samples, your prospects will pay for products that are more detailed.

What do you give away for free and what do you charge for? The rule of thumb is that free information tells people what to do, but paid information shows them how to do it.

You May Be Wondering….

You may be thinking that earning extra income through information marketing sounds a lot like one of our previous proposals: starting and running a moneymaking website.

It is similar.

The difference is focus.

With a moneymaking website, it's all about visitors to your website. You are giving readers your thoughts and opinions. You hope they find value in what you say and come back again and again. With enough traffic, you can charge for advertisements.

Ads make money for you in two ways. First, you can set up ads that pay you based on how many views the ad gets (the more people that see it, the more you make). Second, you can make money by how many people click on the ad (each click earns you money-they call this pay-per-click marketing). You can even have some ads link to products where you get a commission off of every sale (what's called an affiliate commission).

Information marketing is different. Your reader has to pay to access your content. And the coverage of the topic is broader. Information marketers drive people to a specific sales-oriented page. The goal is to have them read some information and buy your product. This paid content is usually part of a marketing funnel (a design of when and how to market products to customers).

Therefore, you earn your revenues from customers, rather than advertisers.

Information marketing also focuses on only one topic. It provides everything the reader needs to know about that subject. This isn't always so with a moneymaking website. Usually a blog does have a niche or theme, but the content can vary more than an info product.

You can combine these strategies to earn even more income. For example, you could run a blog on being an extreme couponer. The blog could provide general information on how couponing works, as well as the benefits. Meanwhile, you could sell an info product related to couponing. It would provide the in-depth, “how-to” content that the reader must know to become an expert, instead of just information on a website.

Where to Go for Help

The Internet has become the global repository of information. Much of it is free. But if a book or home-study course is authored by a recognized expert in the field… and if it contains insider tips and tested strategies not available for free online… consumers will gladly pay a fair price to get their hands on it.

So are you ready to start your own information marketing business?

If you'd like to learn more about how to start your own moneymaking websites and want a little more guided assistance, read our 30-Day Launch Protocol.

In this 150-page report, I take you through each step of setting up your information marketing business.

Topics include:

Instructions for creating your first product for under Rs. 50,000. How to find what information people are looking for How to create audio CDs Ways to increase sales How to handle guarantees and refunds And much more.

Your 30-Day Launch Protocol will be in your inbox soon.

If after reading the 30-Day Launch Protocol, you want to take the next step in your info-marketing business, check out my program “The Internet Marketing Retirement Plan,” by clicking here.

Best, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #9a: The Internet Marketing Retirement Guide

Dear Reader,

The Extra Income essay you received from Bob Bly - Enter the World of Information Marketing - Make Money Selling What You Know is a brilliant idea for us here in India.

What's happening now is that most people are turning to international sites and sources for information because finding India-specific information - for Indians by Indians, so to speak - is not easy.

There is huge potential here. In spite of the increasing prevalence of Indians getting on the Internet for their learning needs, and a saturation of free information available, there is a lack of information authored by respected sources in the field… and consumers are willing to pay a fair price to get access to knowledge.

So take what you know, get out there, and start marketing your information.

And to help you get started, Bob is sharing with you this free special report (or 30-Day Launch Protocol as we usually call it) that is co-authored with Fred Gleeck, information marketing expert, better known on the Internet as the King of Content.

In this 150-page report, they take you through each step of setting up your information marketing business.

Topics include: Instructions for creating your first product How to find what information people are looking for How to create audio CDs Ways to increase sales How to handle guarantees and refunds And much more.

To access this report, please click here.

To sharing knowledge and building businesses,

Anisa Virji Managing Editor, Wealth Builders Club

Extra Income Opportunity #10: Service Businesses

Today, we are going to talk about a very different type of income opportunity. It's not at all exciting, and the income potential is limited. But it has one very important virtue. It is perhaps the easiest way I know to generate significant and reliable extra income.

Easy matters. Many people can't get themselves going with our Extra Income Projects because they are intimidated to try something new. Other people are willing to start, but the marketing stalls them.

If you've read the previous essays and have been thinking that you don't have 'what it takes” to become a photographer or a copywriter or an importer of Chinese goods or a publisher of e-books, etc., this might be the opportunity for you.

I am talking about starting a service business.

A service business is a company that… well… performs a service. That can include anything from fixing toasters to cutting hair. But I'm going to talk about a certain kind of service business - the most boring and repetitive type of service business that exists.

I would like you to consider starting a company that performs routine homeowner services such as cleaning, repairs, indoor gardening, carpet cleaning, etc.

As I said, there are many kinds of service businesses. Plumbing, for example. Or carpentry. Or house painting. Or fixing toasters or lamps, etc.

But those types of services have costs and challenges that make them tougher in some ways. Fixing toasters, for example, requires retail space. Being a plumber or a house painter does not, but those sorts of jobs are demanding in another way.

You are always working on a unique job with particular problems and a particular customer. Also, you are always looking for new customers - even if you have developed a great reputation and get lots of referrals.

You can certainly make a decent living running one of these types of businesses full-time. Tens of thousands of people do.

But the Extra Income Project is about part-time freelance opportunities. So I'll be discussing this kind of business based on the assumption that, after getting it going, you will be working on it only 2-10 hours per week.

The Monkey Factor

The kind of service business I'm talking about is not rocket science. As I said above, it may be the easiest kind of business there is. Whether you are mowing a lawn, cleaning carpets, trimming trees, or painting windows, the skill level is relatively low. And the repetition is high.

I haven't absorbed all the info you've provided, but you've given me confidence that I can drive my future, rather than sit by the roadside waiting for what might pass my way. I am in a much better, safer, financial position than I was a year ago. Thank you. Subscriber J.N. In my meaner days, I called these 'monkey businesses.” As in, 'You can train a monkey to do work like this.”

But that's a good thing. Because once you learn the basics (not hard at all), you can hire and train monkeys (or their human equivalents) to do the actual work for you. That is why I say that this business can be managed working only 2-10 hours per week.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that I have some experience with this type of business. (I try to never write about stuff I know nothing about.)

The first real business I owned was called Reliable Pools. Peter (my real estate partner today) and I installed aboveground pools for homeowners on Long Island. We began by doing it ourselves, but within weeks we had a crew working for us.

We made great money during the spring and summer managing those crews. But since every job was different, our crew always called on us to solve problems on the job. (This is the same kind of problems you'll face if you get into plumbing, remodelling, or painting.) But during the fall and spring we developed a secondary business that turned out to be much better.

That was the business of 'winterizing” and 'summerizing“ the pools we built. Winterizing meant setting them up for the cold - draining some of the water, putting a cover on the pool, etc. Summerizing meant filling up the pool and taking off the cover.

As you might imagine, it took us less than a half hour to winterize or summerize a pool. Still, we were able to charge good money for doing so. And we rarely had to be on the job, because our monkeys could easily do the work we'd trained them to do.

This is a little understood, but crucial aspect of the idea I'm presenting to you. We want you to find a service business that has this monkey factor, because it means you won't have to be working full-time to make good money.

The Downsides

Boredom is the No. 1 problem with these kinds of businesses. But you will be able to get over the boredom once you are working only a few hours per week while raking in lots of dough.

The next biggest problem with a repetitive business is embarrassment. When people ask you how you are making all the extra money, you may be ashamed to tell them exactly what you are doing. They might laugh at you behind your back. But you will be laughing, as they say, all the way to the bank.

Let's Start With Car Cleaning

The most obvious kind of service business and one of my favourites is the car cleaning service. Although it's a round-the-clock business across the country, it is easy to enter and make a profit quickly.

The demand for car cleaning services is high and growing. As the number of cars owned by each family is growing and as the time spent at home by most individuals is reducing, this seems to be a growing need for many.

Who's driving this growth? The many young professionals who don't have the time to do any cleaning, or they have no interest in doing it. But they want well-maintained cars, and prefer to engage professional service companies instead of individuals. Additionally, nowadays, building complexes, and office buildings hire professional services to clean cars in their garage as well.

These trends make a convincing argument that car cleaning is one appealing service business option. Moreover, it doesn't require any specialized training, and the start-up costs are low. The business model promotes repeat business, and it's relatively easy to expand from car cleaning to residential cleaning to other profitable services, including basic car servicing, minor dent fixing and repairs. One great example is a very successful website in India called It includes a myriad of services from cleaning cars to residential cleaning services to repairs and plumbing and electricity, bringing multiple service providers together under one roof.

If it's that simple, why isn't everyone doing this?

Not everyone can handle the stringent demands of the job, which include understanding the finer nuances of different cars, what areas need to be paid more attention to while cleaning and what cleaning products are to be used for different materials, interiors etc. All these areas need a little study and some patience. But if you're a disciplined self-starter who cares about cleanliness, and is looking for an easy way to start business, a car cleaning service could be the extra income ticket for you.

What Can I Make?

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly how much you can make because there are so many variables that can impact your profitability. But there's money for you to make in the cleaning industry. In fact, in many ways, the earning potential is unlimited.

You could make anywhere from Rs 1000 plus per detailed car wash and additionally add other services like polishing, dent-fixing, etc. Even if you had each of your people clean only thirty-forty cars per week, that translates to about 1-2 lac rupees per person coming in each month.

Getting Started

When starting out, you should limit your focus to the basics of the car cleaning business - vacuum cleaning, air freshening, polishing, waxing etc. Doing so will enable you to keep your start-up costs low.

The majority of those start-up costs will go toward the purchase of equipment. The temptation to spend large sums of money for a line-up of equipment to rival your biggest competitor will be great. Don't do it!

Simply buy the minimum amount of equipment needed to do the job for your first few cars-a good used vacuum cleaner, polishes, cleaning solutions, carpet brushes, air fresheners, etc.

Pay cash. Don't finance anything.

Plan on spending about Rs 1-2 lac for commercial-grade equipment.

In this article, How to Start a Car Cleaning Business, Shanika Chapman says:

Attend an auto detailing training course to learn proper cleaning techniques and care for vinyl, plastic, leather and chrome, as well as the difference between polishes and waxes, and carpet cleaning techniques. Learn how to touch up paint, remove swirls, scratches, oxidation, fading and overspray and repair dents. It may behoove you to undergo training in windshield repair, headlight restoration and other car repair services, depending on the scope of your small business.

You'll also need to spend a few thousand rupees on buying gloves, masks and any other protection equipment you and your employees will need to wear while cleaning.

A car cleaning service is your best bet for success. Remember, two-thirds of the revenues generated come from residential customers. Cleaning a car is easier and faster than working on homes or office spaces, but that can be the next step too.

In your first year, your goal should be 20-30 residential clients per week. How much your competition charges will be a large factor in deciding how much you should charge. You can get an idea of how much to charge by having two or three competitors give you a quote to clean your own car.

'Poorly run companies drive themselves out of business-literally!-by driving miles across town to do one job and then drive back,” Hutchins wrote. The high cost of gas erodes any profits you generate.

So when you take up one job in an area, try to couple it with two-three more. That way you earn more and justify the cost of fuel and labour.

There Are Many Other Choices

There are all sorts of other service businesses that meet the criteria we are looking for. They include carpet cleaning, pool service, baby proofing homes, window cleaning, etc.

Let's take a quick look at how these kinds of businesses meet our Extra Income Project opportunity requirements:

Anyone should be able to do it (it's simple and easy to understand)

Being able to start it from home

Work part-time or on weekends

Begin without investing a ton of money

Do the service businesses we mention so far fit? They sure do. With service businesses such as lawn care, carpet cleaning, baby-proofing homes, or window cleaning, anyone can do it (no major schooling or educational requirements). You can begin many with an investment of less than Rs. 1 lac.

And it's simple monkey factor work. Once you've hired a crew, you'll rake in the cash working 2-10 hours per week.

The only criteria it doesn't strictly adhere to is doing it from home. When you start, you'll have to travel to client locations. But you should be able to quickly hire a crew and then manage the operation from home. Even then, it would be good practice to keep personal contact with each client. Developing relationships with your clients will go a long way.

Free Marketing Options for Any Service Job

Marketing for service businesses can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are ample free services you can utilize to market your new business. Here are just a few:

Justdial - you can post a detailed description of your services, give estimates, offer discounts for mentioning the ad, while focusing on a very specific region.

Door-to-door-a lot can be accomplished through personal contact with prospected clients. Many people think they can't afford such services but are pleasantly surprised when you present them with a proposal. Even if they decline, as long as you present yourself well, they may refer you to their friends.

Friends and family-there's a good chance you have friends or family who need your service immediately. They can also be a huge help in spreading the word about your new business.

Car dealers -it is common practice for car dealers to recommend to their clients to use professional services to maintain their fleet of cars.

Bulletin boards-every local town or city office, coffee shop, hardware store, restaurant, and community service usually has a place for locals to post ads. These are great places to get your business exposure.

Parking lots-simply placing fliers under the windshield wipers of cars parked at the local stores can produce a decent amount of prospects.

The big idea here is that this kind of business attracts new clients by word of mouth. All you have to do is provide a better level of service than average. Any smart and diligent person can do this.

You canvass local areas and offer freebies. When you do a good job for free, people feel compelled to hire you at least once. If your prices are reasonable, they will keep you on.

The All ­ Time Best Way to Get (and Keep) a Customer By Paul Lawrence, contributor to Early to Rise

If you can't sell your product or service, you don't have a business. Plain and simple. Your primary concern has to be making sales. Even if you have a good product or service-one that is in demand-you can't force people to buy from you.

The customer has the advantage. And if she wants to ignore you and spend her money elsewhere, you can't stop her. But what you can do is give her a reason to choose you over your competitors.

As a small-business owner, you don't have a whole lot of business-building tools at your disposal. In terms of resources, a small business just can't stand up to a mega-corporation. But you don't need a lot of money or employees to find-and keep-customers. You just need a few easy-to- come-by strategies.

In fact, being small can actually work to your advantage when it comes to one of the all-time best strategies: establishing a relationship with each customer. It can:

Get the customer to trust you enough to take the chance of doing business with you that first time

Build loyalty-so the customer wants to continue to buy from you rather than your competitors

Get the customer to refer you to other potential customers.

You develop relationships with your customers the same way that you do in your personal life. In big part, that means caring for them.

Think about the people you consider friends. Aren't they people you genuinely care about-and who seem to genuinely care about you?

And think about your relationships with companies-big and small-that you deal with on a fairly regular basis

You must admit that it's awfully hard to believe that the mega - corporations - General Motors, for example - care about you. They are nameless, faceless conglomerates. It's a lot easier to believe that your local car salesman has a sincere interest in you.

After all, he lives in your community. His kids go to school with your kids. You meet him face-to-face when you step into his dealership. That's why, unlike General Motors, he can-if he chooses-establish real, caring long- term relationships with you and his other customers.

And that's why you, too, will have any easy time proving to your customers that you are concerned about them and their problems… and that you're there to help.

With blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, there are more ways than ever to communicate with your customers-and to allow them to actually interact with you. Meanwhile, try this classic three-step method for establishing those all-important customer relationships:

Focus on a narrow niche market.

I publish informational programs for wannabe entrepreneurs who want to start up and run one or more businesses on a shoestring. Since I'm not trying to cater to all entrepreneurs, I can focus specifically on what my customers want and need. Because it is obvious that I am devoting my time and energy to helping only people like them, it is clear that I sincerely care about their success.

Customers will believe that you genuinely care about them when they have a reasonable basis for that belief. By specializing in delivering a product or service that is aimed directly at them, you take an immediate step in that direction.

Take the time to understand your customers and their problems.

Only by putting yourself in your customers' shoes-taking the time to figure out not only their wants and needs but also their worries, fears, and hopes-can you develop products or services that will truly help them.

When you do that-when you give them something that will make their lives better or easier in some way-you're sending a very strong message that you care. This is especially true if you continue to develop new products or services for them.

I've got a catalog of about a dozen different programs that I offer my customers-covering a wide range of businesses they can get into with little capital or experience. That way, I'm able to give them exactly what they're looking (and hoping) for.

Make your promotional messages personal.

Building close relationships with customers is all about communicating on a personal level (as it is with family and friends). That's true of any direct contact you may have with your customers in person or over the phone- and it's just as true of the indirect contact you have with them in your marketing materials.

Here are a few suggestions for making your sales copy more personal:

Write your sales message in a conversational tone, as if you're talking to a friend. For example, instead of saying 'This business program can help entrepreneurs earn substantial profits,“ say 'You know that new car you've had your eye on? Well, check out this program. It will help you get it.”

Share information about yourself. When people feel that they know you, they're more inclined to trust you and want to do business with you.

In my marketing copy, I frequently admit what a slow starter I was… how I was in my late 20s and pretty much broke before I started my first successful business. When my prospective customers hear things like that about me, they sympathize with what I went through. And that makes them feel closer to me.

Be honest. Say what you really think, not what you think your customers want to hear.

For instance, instead of sugarcoating my sales pitch, I come right out and tell my prospects to stop feeling sorry for themselves… to stop blaming their past failures on bad luck and, instead, to take responsibility for whether they will succeed or fail in the future.

I'm sure that turns a lot of people off. But, hey, you can't please everyone. And those who see things your way will become profoundly loyal to you- and rightfully so.

You can't pretend to be someone you're not. Your sincerity-or insincerity -will always shine through.

These three steps will help you quickly establish real rapport with your customers. And not only will they willingly pull out their credit cards to make that first purchase… they will be loyal customers for years.

Getting Started the Smart Way

But before you start any marketing, you need a business plan.

A key to success is having a plan to reach your goals. And every good business plan is a work in progress. This means adapting based on knowledge you acquire while getting ready to launch. You'll probably have to tweak your plan quite a few times before it's perfected.

Starting a business can be fairly easy, but to ensure success, you need to have the necessary groundwork in place to give the business a fighting chance.

Businesses don't grow and become profitable by accident. There are reasons why they succeed.

Here are some of the steps to follow:

Get organized-every successful business is well organized.

Keep detailed records-this allows you to track finances and potential challenges you may face.

Know your competition-study them and learn what makes them successful.

Understand the risks versus the rewards-making calculated risks can help your business grow, but be careful… know the downside.

Creativity will help separate you from the pack. It will give you an edge on your competitors.

Don't lose focus-just because you started a business doesn't mean you'll immediately make money.

Be ready to make sacrifices-an example would be possibly working longer hours, which leaves less time with your family.

The service you provide must be the best-this will help create repeat business and will lead to a lot of referrals.

Be consistent-doing the things that help make you money need to be constant. That's how you'll succeed in the long run.

These are just a few factors to consider. Do your homework and you'll be just fine.

How to Hire and Keep Good Workers

We don't really want monkeys. We want people who are willing to work hard for Rs 1000 per day. But you do need motivated crew chiefs. You motivate this kind of crew chief by letting him take a piece of the profits.

Thank you so much for the invaluable information we receive from Mark and the WBC team! We've been given new hope for our futures and have put to good use the information we receive. Subscriber S.T.

The kind of employee you hire will have a huge impact on the long-term success of the business. Great people make all the difference.

Employees who are tenacious and self- motivated will help take your company to the next level.

It's important that prospective employees understand your goals. In turn, it's important to know their goals. This will help you reach your goals while helping the employees achieve their own. A relationship that is beneficial to both parties will go a long way.

A healthy working environment that workers enjoy will increase productivity. Adequate employee compensation goes a long way. It will make the employee feel like they are an integral part of the company's operation.

Acknowledging hard work when an employee is doing a good job motivates them. It's important to recognize a job well done immediately. This reinforces their hard work.

Manage people to their strengths. Utilizing tools that give insight into personality profiles and a person's unique abilities will maximize an employee's strengths. This increases productivity and results in good employee morale.

Give employees some freedom. Letting employees choose the projects they work on and enjoy the most will boost productivity.

Reward great work. You should always make sure employees know you appreciate them and that you notice their hard work.

Treat employees the way you'd want to be treated. This is self-explanatory. Employees are people just like you, so don't treat them like a number.

Let employees speak up. Allowing employees to take initiative will help create a great team. This, in turn, will help your company grow.

Always be on the lookout for quality employees. The recruitment process never stops.

Hire passionate people. Not hiring individuals who are bossy, prima donnas, or clock-watchers is key. This will create a healthy work environment.

Look for people who will be a good fit. Make sure the employee fits your values and culture and really gets your business.

Be able to work with employees' schedules. Being flexible helps in making a loyal employee.

Finally, hire self-starters. These people have drive and see value in building their own careers. Another factor that will help your business grow.

Four Aspects of Entrepreneurial Success:

Every entrepreneurial business-regardless of what stage of growth it is in -needs four personalities at the helm:

A seller: someone to market the product/service

An improver: someone to improve the product/service

An organizer: someone to make sure things go smoothly

A pusher: someone to get people to do what they are supposed to do.

When you begin your business, if you don't have a partner, you may have to handle all of these functions. As your business grows, you will probably hire people to take on most of them-but at least during the first two stages and probably longer (my book Ready, Fire, Aim goes into great detail about this), you should be in charge of one of them.

Which one should it be?

To me, the most important job of any entrepreneur-and the one role you should not give up as your business grows is the seller. You should always be in charge of marketing your product/service.

For more on this, get my book Ready, Fire, Aim… it's a must-read for any burgeoning entrepreneur.

This Is Just the Beginning

I've told you about the service industry in a general sense. As an example, I also went into the car cleaning industry in great depth.

But all service-based businesses are very similar in nature. The way you'll start your business, hire the right employees, market your service, and manage the business will all be similar.

To give you a better understanding of the opportunities that the service industry offers, the Wealth Builders Club Team has put together a special report: Extra Income From Service Businesses… and Our New Ranking System.

This will give you a good idea as to what service or services you may be interested in. You'll also learn about our new ranking system for these criteria:

Income potential

Size of the opportunity

Skill barriers

Capital barriers

And freedom.

This free report will reach you in a few days.

Start earning an extra income with a service business now.

Best, Mark

Special Report: Extra Income From Service Businesses

The service industry is something that quickly comes to mind when we think about business. Maybe you can start a residential cleaning service. Or maybe you can start an event planning or carpet cleaning company.

How much you can make depends on what service you provide. And you'd be surprised by how much money can be made running one of these businesses.

Service businesses include everything from blue-collar hole digging… to middle-level technical work… to white-collar executive work… and, finally, the professions.

For this specific Extra Income opportunity, we'll be looking at service businesses that are easy to get into. If you make up your mind to do a great (not just good) job at fair or cheaper-than-average rates, hire the right people, and keep your promises, you'll find yourself climbing to the top of the ladder in no time flat.

Here is a list of some of the service businesses we investigated.

1. Carpet Cleaning

I bet you didn't wake up this morning thinking, “Wouldn't it be great to clean carpets for a living?”

On the other hand, the idea of owning and operating a highly respectable local business is worth some serious consideration. But if you consider that you could start with a minimal investment and very little overheads, that it's simple to market and could generate immediate profits, and that it could be leveraged into a substantial enterprise, carpet cleaning has to pique your curiosity.

This business offers a low cost of entry, freedom, personal satisfaction, and most importantly… substantial financial potential.

The carpet cleaning industry is recession-proof because almost every home with a carpet needs to be cleaned at least once per year. And there are tens of millions of people every year who buy new carpets. When the economy is weak, many people opt to get their old carpets professionally cleaned instead of investing in new carpet.

And when new homes are being built, there's even more carpet to clean. Those who do buy a new carpet will still need to have it professionally cleaned within a year.

Additionally many stores have carpeting and they often need it cleaned multiple times a year. If you can get contracts with shops that means even more business for you. Either way, there's a growing demand for a quality carpet-cleaning business.

What Can I Make?

Most carpet-cleaning business owners easily earn upwards of Rs. 1500 per hour. This is therefore a small business opportunitiy that has the potential for a large hourly return.

By working a mere 20 hours per week making Rs. 1500 per hour, you could bring home Rs. 30,000 per week, over Rs. 12 lac a year. If you employ multiple people you could expand and work many more hours each week.

And with carpet still being quite a popular flooring option, it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The demand for professional cleaning services for homes and businesses is climbing.

Getting Started

To get started, there will be certain start-up costs.

Your first consideration is equipment plus a vehicle in which to transport it. If you go with new equipment, the costs do get pretty high…

You will need money for company registration and insurance, if required. The insurance will prevent any frivolous lawsuits from draining company funds. But a business registration is all you'll need to get started.

You'll want to do some research to find the best suppliers to get the best deals and best products.

In short, here are six easy steps to start your carpet-cleaning business:

Study and learn the trade

Choose a niche… this will make sales easier

Get the proper licensing and insurance

Find the right equipment

Make a website

And start getting the word out.

2. Baby-Proofing Homes

Just think of the average home from a little child's point of view. The trouble a baby can get into is endless. There are many hazards including electrical outlets, cords, poisonous products, sharp edges, cabinets, and drawers, to name a few. Making a house safe for babies is called baby-proofing.

Baby-proofing products are now available online, but new parents would prefer the job professionally done so as to be completely confident of their baby's safety. So many new parents are now paying good money to eliminate these hazards.

You'll need a strong sense of what dangers exist for babies and small children in the home and how to prevent them. You'll need good people skills to work with parents, many whom may be on the overanxious side.

And you'll need to be able to handle Mom, Dad, and possibly grandparents hanging over your shoulder while you install all the child-proofing latches and other safety devices.

The key here is to help families avoid accidents. And with a smart marketing strategy, you'll be in high demand.

Your services will include touring homes, installing safety latches, removing dangerous objects, and making parents aware of all potential hazards.

The advantages to this business are that you can work from home, you can start out part-time, and you'll provide a needed, appreciated service.

Also, this is a new market in India. Now that many families have two working parents, and parents cannot have an eye on the child every second, baby-proofing has become necessary. However, there are not yet many services available to plug this gap.

What Can I Make?

The owner of Safe Baby, a Mumbai-based child safety agency, says professional child-proofing agencies can charge a minimum of Rs. 8,000 for basic child-proofing of an apartment.

That's a pretty good payday. If you scheduled just one full-service job each week, you could easily make several lac rupees per year working part-time.

Getting Started

You'll need basic tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, and a cordless drill, as well as a tidy supply of baby-proofing devices. And since this is a business that hits about as close to customers' homes and hearts as possible, you'll want to be sure to carry liability insurance.

Start-up costs will include the basic tools, a business registration, and insurance.

Your customers will consist mostly of parents and grandparents, but you might also target businesses that find babies onboard - look for ones that have children's play areas set up, such as nurseries and childcare services.

Place ads in local papers and try to get featured in articles. Send brochures to pediatricians. Introduce yourself to business owners and leave brochures. Go on a local radio show to talk about baby-proofing. Write a blog on your website about tips on child safety. You can even sell baby-proofing products on your website.

3. House Cleaning

With just a bucket of cleaning supplies, some rags, a mop, a broom, and a vacuum cleaner, you can begin a residential home-cleaning business. And this recession- resistant business is one of the fastest-growing service industries around the world.

With both adults working in households nowadays, they are pressed for time, and don't necessarily want a full-time maid in their home so they turn to outside sources to keep their houses clean. That creates an excellent extra income opportunity for you.

You can employ and train people so as to ensure professional cleaning services. So you need to get familiar with the basics of cleaning before you start.

A cleaning business can be operated from your home on either a part-time or a full-time basis. This flexibility will appeal to a lot of income-seeking individuals. But before you rush out to buy those mops and brooms, remember that cleaning houses is hard, meticulous work. And whoever does it, needs to be in good physical condition.

Find staff that can handle the physical demands, trustworthy and pay attention to details.

What Can I Make?

Websites such as quote a minimum of Rs. 5,000 for their deep cleaning services for small homes.

Brett Krkosska, who turned a successful cleaning business into a business-coaching profession with his website,, says the income potential of a residential cleaning business is unlimited. Best of all, you can start bringing in money within two weeks. Within a few months, “You can have a full- force house cleaning business.”

Getting Started

You can literally start a house cleaning business for less than Rs. 50,000.

Your biggest expense will be a good, reliable vacuum cleaner. Also plan on spending on all the extra accessories you'll need to do a complete and thorough job. The rest of the money you'll use to buy cleaning supplies (a mop and bucket, a broom and dustpan, and rags).

You'll also need reliable transportation to carry your gear and staff to your clients' houses. Essentially, your vehicle is your company on wheels. Keep it well maintained and don't overlook the marketing advantages of a sign promoting your business.

The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Start by asking friends and family members if your company can clean their homes and then get permission to use them as references. Build your client base slowly.

Your first-year goal should be to get 5-15 clients per week, depending on the number of hours you want to put into your business.

4. Pet Sitter, Dog Walker

If you love all things animal-related, this is the profession for you. As a professional pet sitter/dog walker, you will care for people's pets while they're away or at work. This will be for the day or for longer periods of time, such as during vacations or business trips.

Pet sitters play with clients' pets, feed them, brush them, and possibly give them medications. They often offer other services to make life easier for their customers, like cleaning up accidents, changing litter boxes, bringing in newspapers and mail, watering plants, and taking out trash.

Both pet-sitting and dog-walking are still in their infancies as recognized professions.

In fact, the outlook for pet sitters and dog walkers has never been better. With more single young professional urban Indians living with pets for company, there is a need for someone to look after their pets when they are out or away for business trips.

Some pet-sitting service providers will visit the clients' homes to care for their pets, others provide kennel/day-care services where the clients can leave their pets for some hours or days when they are gone. Many kennel services offer additional advantages, such as pet training, grooming, etc. to expand their business.

What Can I Make?

How much you make as a pet sitter depends on where you're doing business and how many visits you can make in one day. Or how many services you offer.

Kennel services in Mumbai charge about Rs. 5-700 per day per dog for basic services. Add-on services can easily bring this up to twice that. Depending on how much space you have you can keep several pets in your kennel/home at a time. You can also take birds and cats.

Once you build up your clientele, you'll be able to hire someone to do the dog walking and caring for you.

So you see, once you've established a certain amount of clients, you won't have to spend much time at all for a sizable income.

Getting Started

This makes the opportunity even more attractive.

There is very little barrier to entry. According to, start-up costs should be below Rs. 1 lac. And in reality, probably far less.

All you need is a love for animals, patience, a place, and a business license.

To get the word out about your business, just follow our suggestions from earlier.

5. Event Planner

If you're an active person who has creative ideas, excellent people skills, and strong organizational skills, the event planning business could be a source of extra income you could tap into.

Event planning is growing in every country, especially in India. With weddings becoming bigger and festivals being celebrated with much pomp and show, you couldn't be in a better place.

The expanding middle class like to celebrate key moments in their lives-weddings, anniversary parties birthdays and reunions-with flashy events.

Also growing is the children's party business from first birthdays to extravagant sweet 16 parties.

You can also organize conferences, receptions, and seminars for non-profit organizations. Comparatively speaking, you won't make as much money on non-profit events, but the training you get will enhance your experience and earn you some exposure.

Not everyone will enjoy this type of work. You must have strong organization skills, be able to perform well under stress, balance multiple demands, meet deadlines, and network extensively. The hours can be long and irregular, especially in the time leading up to a major event.

What Can I Make?

A reputed event planner can earn anywhere from a few thousand to a few lac rupees per event.

Or they can charge a fee that ranges from 20-30% of the total project budget.

If you can do just one or two major events such as a flashy wedding in a month that can get you over a lac for part-time work.

Getting Started

An event-planning business can easily be operated from a home office. The actual cash you need to get started is small, as the clients will absorb most of the costs for the events.

But you will need a computer, printer, fax machine, telephone, some office supplies, business cards, and brochures advertising your services. If you already own a computer, your start-up costs should be less than Rs. 25,000.

You also must have reliable transportation, as you'll be driving to check out facilities that could be venues for events. Be sure the vehicle is properly insured

6. Home Decorating

If you have an “eye” for design and for coordinating furnishings and accessories, the home decorating field could be an ideal home-based business and a means of earning a respectable profit.

The home improvement industry is hot, and that spells extra income opportunity. With more and more developers building more residential and commercial complexes, the need for interior decorators' services are definitely on the rise in India too.

While some homes may come furnished, homeowners will still want to add that something extra to give it their own personal touch and that's where your work will become important.

Most interior decor professionals have taken a diploma course in the subject. But if you have a good eye for colour, texture and design, all you need to do is browse several home decor magazines, visit home stores and understand the general trends in the industry.

What Can I Make?

Fee structures vary from designer to designer. You could charge a lump-sum project fee or a rate per square-foot that you design, a common practice in India. You could additionally get an official agency commission from the vendors you source materials from.

The advantage of this opportunity is that you can take on just as many projects as you can handle. So even if you do 3-4 homes a year, you should be able to earn revenues of a couple of lac rupees.

Small jobs in the interior decoration space will also give you handsome earnings. So don't hesitate to take on just one room or bathroom or kitchen that a client enquires for. This may help you get an inroad to other projects that the client may have in mind for the future.

Getting Started

Many home-based interior decorators get their start by providing decorating services for family and friends. This approach provides an opportunity to practice your decorating skills in a less-stressful environment and get some experience in calculating the cost and time requirements for various projects.

Emily Clark started her business this way two years ago. She wrote about her experience on her blog,

“When I decided that I would start working for myself… I honestly just hoped to get two (non-family/non-friend clients) within the first three years. I volunteered my services to a few friends. It was great practice.”

The basic start-up costs are fairly low, especially if you already own a computer and have reliable transportation.

You'll need a variety of sample books of wallpapers, fabrics, flooring, paint colours, etc.; kitchen, bathroom and lighting catalogues; letterhead and envelopes; business cards; marketing materials such as brochures advertising your services and prices; and, most importantly, a personal portfolio that includes photographs and signed recommendations of your work (remember to get them from family and friends when you are just getting started).

7. Window Cleaning

Every window you see is a possible few hundred rupees in your pocket. And homeowners and business owners are willing to pay you good money to keep those windows clean because they hate washing their own windows.

In fact, a 2009 study found that 80% of homeowners avoid washing their windows because of the time, energy, and hassle required to get the job done.

Best of all, it's a learn-while-you-earn type of job that requires no specialized training. And it's a recession-proof business. Windows keep getting dirty regardless of how the economy is doing.

You need to be in reasonably good shape to be a window cleaner. The job requires a lot of lifting, climbing, stooping, and movement of the arms. You can count on getting quite dirty sometimes. And since most of your work will be outside, you must be willing to work in all kinds of weather.

But if you like working alone, window cleaning can offer some worthwhile financial rewards, and you can have your business up and running in a matter of days.

What Can I Make?

Window cleaning can be a very lucrative business. Services in Mumbai like TimeSaverz charge a minimum of Rs. 1,000 for a one-bedroom house. So the more number of rooms you do per home, the higher your billing will be.

Thus if you do even one home per day, you could earn approx. Rs. 10-15,000 per week. Not bad for work that just takes up to a few hours every day.

And like most home-cleaning services, you can provide time slots that the clients can choose from - depending on what suits their convenience. This will further help you plan your day and other businesses better too.

Getting Started

Your out-of-pocket expenses to start the business will be minimal.

You can purchase three sizes of squeegees, two holsters, professional razor scrapers, and a scrubber.

Add to those tools a bucket or two, some sponges, a ladder, and some cleaning solution and you're ready to start work. You should earn enough in your first two or three jobs to easily cover your start-up costs.

Look around your area for homes that are relatively old and need constant repair work and cleaning. Some of their windows will be old-style but they will need more cleaning and maintenance.

And don't overlook areas with brand-new construction. After construction is done, a lot of work is needed to clean the construction gunk off the windows.

Once you get a few residential jobs under your belt, you can turn your attention to small businesses and stores, and perhaps apartment complexes and private bungalows.

8. Pool Service

If you enjoy the outdoors and have any experience cleaning and maintaining pools, a pool service company is a great business you can start from home. Every home, hotel, country club, or apartment complex with a pool represents a prospective client.

A pool service company is a lot like lawn care. It's also seasonal in some places.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there are ways to pick up some business in parts of the country where pools are used through the year, like Mumbai and Goa.

Most pool maintenance companies usually offer a variety of services including:

Adjusting the water's chemical balance

Maintaining the pumps and filters

Scrub and skim the pool

Repair any pool-related systems

Cleaning the pool deck and exposed tiles

Fill chlorine feeder.

Here's what your typical week will look like: making your rounds; checking and adjusting chemical levels; maintaining pumps, skimmers, filters and other equipment; and doing routine cleaning. In addition to pools, you can service spas and hot tubs, too. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time if you like with a minimal investment. Plus, you get to work outdoors.

It's essential in running a successful pool service that you keep the expenses to a minimum and make sure you are charging the proper rates for pool service in your area. You can help keep expenses lower by running your business out of your house, using a small truck to save on gas, and shopping the different suppliers for the best prices on chemicals and equipment.

What Can I Make?

Pool cleaning services start at a minimum of Rs. 5,000 per pool. So even if you take on the maintenance of two pools per day, you should be able to make atleast Rs. 50-60,000 per week.

Pool cleaning requires extra attention and care as it involves people using it every day. Thus great attention should be paid to details and quality of products like the disinfectants used etc.

As your team grows, you can take on more jobs. But at the start, go easy and take on only what you can handle. You will still make at least a couple of lac rupees per year in profits.

Getting Started

There may be certain government and health control regulations that you may have to keep in mind, so be sure to check with your country's laws before moving forward. You may also need to get liability insurance.

A big attraction to this business is the minimal barrier for entry. For as little as Rs. 1 lac you can be up and running.

Many of these costs will be single, one-time charges such as your business registration and much of the equipment. The ongoing costs will include chemicals, insurance, and any other variety of costs.

The basic equipment needed to get up and running includes:

Pool poles



The proper chemicals

A way to transport your equipment

And don't forget plenty of sunscreen.

As you can see, starting a pool service company doesn't require much to get going.

As you can see, all these businesses give you the freedom to work as little or as much as you like. At first, more time may be needed to get started, but once you have a crew in place, your work will be minimal.

This report will help you decide if these are opportunities you'd like to pursue.

Best, Mark

Extra Income Opportunity #11: Make Money Writing Grant Proposals

The universe of grants is huge. A grant is nothing more than a gift of money, usually substantial, to a recipient - either an individual or organization - for a purpose specified in the grant request and award.

And the organizations or individuals who apply for grants often hire freelancers to write their grant applications or proposals. You can you earn a handsome wage writing grant proposals. Plus, you can help worthy causes get much-needed funding.

VR is a California writer who has helped her clients secure more than $155 million from federal, state, and private funding sources over the past decade.

In Mumbai, RB helps NGOs draft their proposals for foundations and other companies with a corpus set aside for CSR or corporate social responsibility. She has helped one such NGO secure Rs 10 lac in one year alone.

MN began writing grants on a volunteer basis for local nonprofits. Once she had the experience, she offered her grant writing services to nonprofits on a paid basis.

CS wrote her first grant proposal 10 years ago. Her proposal received $1 million. Since then, she has written over 300 grants submitted to federal and state government agencies and private and public foundations.

While in India, KT approaches several foundations as an independent consultant and instead of working and taking money from the NGO, he bills the foundation whose format and language he is already familiar with. In this way, he has helped disseminate more than Rs 2 crore from foundations for the effective running of 10-15 NGOs. And more than the money, he is also excited by the learning he gets from how the NGO sector is growing in India.

In the U.S., “funders” - private foundations, corporations, and government agencies - give away around $24 billion in grants annually. These grants can range from a couple of thousand dollars to well over $1 million. In 2011, funders awarded a total of 149,518 grants to 56,970 recipients. This means a number of recipients apply for - and win - multiple grants.

This trend seems to be replicated in India too. The CSR Policy under the Companies Act 2013, effective from April 2014, has made companies rethink their approach and they are now increasingly looking at ways to involve themselves more deeply with the NGO sector.

While some are starting nonprofits of their own, many are continuing to support existing NGOs and are taking their causes forward. But they do conduct a due diligence and get a complete picture about the various initiatives undertaken by an NGO and its impact. And that's where the role of the grant writer comes into being.

The publishers of Foundation Directory, an online source of information on funders and grants, lists more than 120,000 foundations and corporate donors that award grants.

In India, websites like Give India and Help Your NGO are portals that successfully link donors with NGOs.

Is Freelance Grant Writing for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well grant writing passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). The only skill you need for grant writing is the ability to write clearly and persuasively. Refer to the resources at the end of this essay. They will help you master the particular format of grant writing - no courses required.

If you are a good writer, grant writing may be an ideal extra income opportunity for you. If you need a little help, find a place that teaches persuasive writing. We recommend American Writers and Artists Inc.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home. Grant writing is a specialized type of freelance writing, and most freelance writers work from home. There is no need to rent an office space. You contact your clients through phone, fax, courier, and e-mail.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends. You can work part-time as a grant writer (or as any kind of freelance writer, for that matter). You can take on as much or as little work as you like. And with a laptop and an Internet connection, you can work from almost anywhere.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital. Freelance writing has the lowest start-up costs of any home business. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a telephone. I recommend using a separate room in your house as a dedicated office.

But when I started freelancing in 1982 and lived in a tiny studio apartment, everything was in one room, and it was livable.

And fifth: You should be able to ideally start making Rs 15,000-25,000 per grant proposal. Rates vary depending on the client, project, and experience of the writer, from around Rs 5,ooo per grant on the low end to as much as Rs 25,000 on the high end. The most typical fee arrangement is to keep track of your time and the effort put into each grant.

Getting Started in Grant Writing

To get started as a grant writer, you need to learn the format for grant proposals. Each funder strictly defines its guidelines for grant proposals. This structure makes grant writing a type of formula writing. Funders typically eliminate grant requests that do not adhere to their guidelines.

If an organization cannot follow clear, predictable instructions, how can it be trusted to carry out its programs or fulfill the requirements of the grant? In short, if a funder specifies that pages, budgets, or attachments be formatted a certain way, you must format the grant exactly as requested.

Even at 84, I feel like there is a world of opportunity out there. I don't know how to thank you enough for all of your help, instruction, and encouragement. Club member E.B. The formula for grant proposals follows a fairly universal format called the Common Grant Proposal (CGP). The elements of a CGP are as follows:

A cover letter that introduces your client, summarizes its mission, and explains the program for which you seek funding.

A cover sheet that lists required information, including the application date, the nonprofit's legal name, year founded, current annual operating budget, and information for the contact person.

An executive summary with a brief description of the project, its importance, and why this particular funder should fund this particular project.

A narrative that includes any additional information you think is important and may sway the funder to make a decision in your favour.

The nonprofit's mission statement, goals and objectives, history, current programs, accomplishments, and affiliations with other organizations.

A section that describes the program's design and sustainability. You need to explain the long-term plans for paying for the program - how it will operate once the grant runs out.

The expected outcomes of receiving the grant and the specific criteria you will use to measure success.

When you get your first client, ask to see examples of past grant proposals. Explain that you want a sense of what did or did not work for them. The client doesn't need to know that you are a newbie grant writer and want the old proposals to familiarize yourself with the grant proposal format. Continue doing this even as you build clients. It will help you gain more insight.

Getting the Word Out

The toughest aspect to any self-employment endeavour is finding customers. Nonprofit decision-makers often work closely with for-profit and local government decision-makers, as well as those of other nonprofits. You are as likely to run into a nonprofit executive at a Chamber of Commerce meeting as you are to meet any other businessperson.

Your networking should include a variety of events, memberships, and organizations.

Join the Chamber of Commerce, attend all of its functions, personally visit nonprofit organizations, and network regularly. Find out what organizations nonprofit managers belong to and join those as well. Visit with them at organization-sponsored meetings and events.

Find out who belongs to the local Lions Club, Rotary Club, and other service and social organizations. Join as many as you can.

You can get this information by being forthright in your intentions. Simply ask people who work for nonprofits where you might meet people interested in your grant writing services.

Attend all fundraising events in your community, pass out your cards, and collect other people's cards. Take advantage of free advertising sources like physical bulletin boards, flyers that offer free classifieds, Chamber mailings, and brochure space.

Mail brochures or postcards, build a Website to promote your work, start a newsletter and mail or e-mail it to prospective clients. Several websites like the Government of India one,, NGOs India, Sphere India and GuideStar India will help you find a list of all the NGOs registered in your city. This might double as both a source for your client prospect list and your funder list.

Issue press releases or even a series of articles to local newspapers and community magazines. Hand out your business cards to everyone you meet.

Someone may be affiliated with a nonprofit.

Post ads on Freelance India, register at freelance sites like Freelancer, Quickr or Guru and Freelance Writing Organization-Int'l for international assignments.

Most sites offer free registration and various levels of access to jobs that you can bid on. Basic levels are usually free but offer less accessibility. Paid levels vary depending on the services you choose. You may even have to pay a fee for each job you get, ranging from 5-30%, plus PayPal or other money transfer fees.

I just can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate all that you are doing. The Wealth Builders Club might just be the most important publication out there today. Club member K.W. Do pro bono (voluntary) work, or work at a reduced rate to get your foot in the door. Ask to assist other writers who may be overloaded and looking for someone to help out.

If you know what funding opportunities are available and are familiar with the nonprofit programs in your area, you can use that knowledge when you approach potential clients.

But don't just hand over too much of that information to your prospects. Give them a reason to contact you for more information.

Newsletters are a wonderful way to convey that you are the go-to person for grant funding. This can establish you as an expert in the field long before you would otherwise gain that reputation.

Long-term contracts are great for ensuring steady income. But spreading yourself out across many short-term projects will reap a broad range of experience in a short period of time, and a larger number of clients and exposure. Do a good job and you'll earn a good reputation and some free advertising via word-of-mouth.

What to Do Next

Your key task at this point is to familiarize yourself with the standard grant proposal format. One good book for grant writers is Grant Writing for Dummies by Dr. Beverly Browning. It's well organized and covers many tips, warnings, and good advice that other books miss.

Another book by this author, Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals , describes how to sell your program and its achievements, how to describe your goals, and which supporting documents you should include, along with more insider secrets.

The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox offers tips from successful grant writers as well as from grant makers.

A book that includes proposal samples, The Art of Grantwriting by Wendy H. Anderson, should be in any start-up library.

Once you have read through books on proposal writing, you will know the ground rules for developing a proposal. Reading the books exposes you to other writers' experiences, mistakes, and secrets of success.

This will give you the confidence to complete your first proposals. An excellent resource to find books and links relating to fundraising, grant writing, free fundraising kits, and much more is Fundsnet Services.

Clients will likely rely on you not only to write their proposals, but also to find the funders for them. That's where this business gets even more lucrative. Just like any other for-profit marketing deal, you could also negotiate a percent of the revenue earned. And many NGOs oblige because it's a more viable option for them than hiring someone full-time.

So put pen to paper, earn some money and do good all at the same time.

Best, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #12: Make Money As a Voice-Over Artist

Some days it seems that Morgan Freeman or Amitabh Bachchan narrate about 90% of everything ever recorded - movies, documentaries, and radio and TV commercials.

But in truth, ordinary people like you and me narrate most radio and TV commercials. And in this month's extra income opportunity, you'll learn how you can make as much as Rs. 12-15 lac per year or more as a “voice-over (VO) specialist.” As a VO specialist, you lend your voice to selling everything from fans and Fevicol, to furniture and cars.

Potential clients for your VO services include talent agencies, ad agencies, casting directors, production houses, local small businesses, and medium- and large-size corporations. For instance, if you are an Apple customer who hears Siri speak over your iPhone, you are hearing the voice of a voice-over professional. Another famous voice-over of the Internet age is AOL's “You've got mail.”

“Be creative in your thinking as to who could use your talents as a voice-over artist,” says VO professional and coach Neeraj M. For instance, a local jewellery shop paid a friend of Neeraj's to do its on-hold phone messages - and he got the gig because he asked for it.

As a VO pro, you could lend your vocal cords to radio spots, TV commercials, movie trailers, and cartoons. Business presentations, telephone system recordings, podcasts, and even video games also all use VO pros. Longer assignments might include audio books, training videos, and narration for documentaries… if Amitabh Bachchan is otherwise occupied.

Is Voice-Over Work for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well being a voice-over professional passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

The late Don LaFontaine, arguably the most in-demand and successful VO artist of recent vintage, had a distinctive voice. It was so recognizable that stand-up comic Pablo Francisco parodied LaFontaine in his routines. But you can still make a good living in voice-overs without Fontaine's dulcet tones.

In India, the late Mohammad Rafi was considered Hindi cinema's greatest voice, where he could modulate his voice as per the persona of the artist who was lip-syncing.

“Believe it or not, having a ‘great' voice is not the most important factor when it comes to being a successful voice talent,” says Bill DeWees, a successful voice-over specialist and coach earning six figures. “From a performance standpoint, it's about being a great communicator and storyteller.” Bill's coaching site for aspiring VO artists is

Bill says you can lack a stand-out voice and still give a compelling performance. “Having a great voice doesn't hurt; it's just not critical,” says DeWees. “If you communicate for a living… such as being a teacher, salesperson, preacher, or speaker of any sort… chances are you're closer to a career in voice-overs than you may think.”

Similarly, Indian voice artist and coach Anil Mani of says, “One needn't be afraid of having a thin voice or a deep voice, what matters is the nature of the topic you're lending your voice to.” Anil feels every voice will ultimately find its niche market.

Top VO artist Swati G agrees. “It takes much more than a great sounding voice to be successful in voice-overs. You also need the ability to take someone else's words - the script - and make them sound as believable and sincere as if they were your own.”

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.In the 1990s, the business model for VO specialists required talent agency representation and the flexibility to travel to a studio during business hours for auditions and actual work.

Today, VO specialists audition and work from home. “You no longer have to travel to the client's place of business,” says Neeraj M of, noting that many voice-over artists record at simple home studios.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

You can definitely work part-time as a voice-over artist. At the beginning, you may have to, because you won't have enough projects to fill your schedule.

Plus, your hours are your own. As long as the client gets the digital recording on time, he doesn't care when you record it - business hours, evenings, or even weekends.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital.

The start-up costs are low. All you need is your voice and a minimally outfitted home recording studio. This you can equip for less than Rs. 20,000. You can buy the gear you need online on Amazon India or eBay.

You do not need to join an association to make money as a VO artist. However, those voice-over specialists who are association members generally make more money than non-association members. The one big association is the Association of Voice Artistes India. To join requires some prior but limited work experience as a professional actor, and it will add a few thousand rupees or so to your start-up costs.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 1000 - Rs. 5000 per hour.

Rates vary depending on the client, project, and experience of the talent.

For audio book narration, you can earn Rs. 1,000 - Rs. 5,000 per finished hour. Video game voicing pays Rs. 4,000 - Rs. 10,000 per hour. For corporate narration, figure anywhere from Rs. 12,000 - Rs. 20,000 per job. As for TV commercials, a local cable spot may pay only Rs. 3,000, while a national commercial for Sony or Colors TV could earn you 20 times that amount.

Most working voice-over artists earn Rs. 15-20 lac per year or less. But top VO specialists like DeWees or India's Harish Bhimani and others can make well over Rs. 50 lac per year. Voice-over artist Joan Baker says that a very successful VO professional can make even a crore rupees per year. LaFontaine, who has recorded over 5,000 movie trailers, said that the top handful of VO professionals make seven-figure incomes.

As a VO pro, you can make six figures without being a 9-to-5 cubicle slave.

Says DeWees, “The best part of being a pro is that I am self-employed. I enjoy being responsible for my own success. I also love the work itself. It's very gratifying to finish a recording session and have the client tell you that you gave them exactly what they wanted.

“Aside from the creative side of the equation, I also get a thrill from the marketing side of things. I love finding ways to get new clients. In all honesty, I think I enjoy getting clients more than recording!”

A side point: I have written elsewhere that being self-employed requires you to be in relatively good health. In that context, I was talking about major illness. But for voice-over professionals, even minor sickness - sore throat, flu, cold, allergies, or sinus infections - can render them unable to work.

Getting Started in the Voice-Over Trade

There are four steps to take in launching a voice-over career.

Step One: Set up a basic recording studio in your home. “Everything - auditions and actual work - can happen from your home studio,” says Rohit J, a professional voice actor.

Rohit's first home studio was a bedroom closet with only Rs. 20,000 invested in recording equipment. Even with that very humble set-up, he was able to generate a six-figure income. Today, his studio reflects just a microphone costing Rs. 1 lac and a sound-proof studio with the latest interiors and technology. about a Rs. 5 lac plus investment - still not very sizable in relation to the return it provides. You do not need a lot of space for your home recording studio; one successful VO artist has hers in a tiny bedroom closet.

Step Two: Invest in some training to improve your voice. You must refine your raw talent to meet the demands of talent agents, casting directors, and clients. VO professional Rajesh More says that voice-over artists who do audio books or other long-form narration should get special training so they avoid straining their voices.

Your Wealth Builders Club has been amazing for the price. Actually, I've never seen anything at all like it. It goes into so many aspects of wealth and does so in a very thorough manner. Thanks for your help and the help of all the others who have made this possible. Club member B.T. Step Three: Record a demo. A demo is a short audio with several 60-90 second sections. Each demo segment consists of you reading a real or made-up trailer or ad. Offering samples of your voice in multiple VO media - e.g., a movie trailer for an action film in a dramatic voice; a TV commercial for diapers in a softer, kinder voice - showcases you as a professional. It demonstrates the range of your capabilities.

Back in the day, submitting your demo meant mailing an audio cassette and then later on a CD. Today you can post a digital file of the demo online and send potential clients a link to the mp3.

Step Four: Market yourself. For many, this is the biggest challenge to VO success. “This is where most people fail,” says Rohit. “I talk to incredibly talented people represented by the top agents in India who struggle to get work.”

Yes, VO artists can and should get talent agent representation. But you can't count on agents to fill your book of business. You can be represented on a non-exclusive basis by multiple agents. The jobs they bring account for a small percentage of income. The rest comes from his own marketing efforts. For this, he focuses on getting his demos in front of enough of the right people on a consistent basis.

Getting the Word Out

The key to marketing yourself as a voice-over artist is to get your demo into the hands of as many potential clients as possible, says successful VO artist and coach David Rosenthal of Internet Voice Coach. Send your demo to as many potential clients as possible.

“Nowadays this is even simpler, as all you need to do is take your pen drive and dump the samples on to the studio's computer,” Says Pervez M, a dubbing artist and voice actor in Mumbai.

There are a number of ways you can get someone to listen to your demo. For radio and TV ad work, you can approach advertising agencies or go to advertisers directly. You can send it via postal mail as a CD. Or you could hand deliver a CD yourself.

Some prospects prefer you send your demo as a sound file attachment in an email. Or, you can direct your prospect to a URL where they can download your demo as an mp3 file.

“You've got to market yourself far and wide,” says Neeraj. “Yes, it takes some work. But self-promotion is the name of the game, and all you need is one job to get yourself on the map.”

The offer in your self-promotional marketing - the “call to action” (CTA) - is for the prospect to request your free demo. There are many ways you can promote your free demo offer.

For instance, you could send a postcard to ad agencies in your city. On the postcard is a URL where they can download the demo mp3. Also include your phone number. This way, interested prospects can call you to discuss a potential job.

Several VO artists run small classified ads in the “services available” sections of advertising and marketing trade publications. Nowadays, the digital medium is used the maximum. With JustDial getting the largest number of advertisements for freelancers and voice-over artists. You could also e-mail studios with your details and voice sample attachments.

Now, let's say you've had the good fortune to book a job or maybe you've landed an agent. Do you now stop promoting yourself? No. In fact, if anything, now's the time to promote yourself even further. Self-promotion is easier after you land the first client or three. Reason: You are now a working professional, not an aspiring VO artist.

Rohit also recommends creating a website for your new VO business. Send out more postcards, this time to all your contacts. Tell them that you have an agent, or you've voiced a job, or whatever your accomplishment was. Just keep the momentum going.

Remember, you are nurturing a fledgling career. It doesn't happen all on its own. Self-promotion may be critical to breaking into the business, but it's also what keeps you busy and active.

What to Do Next

Have you ever heard the voice-over in a movie trailer or TV commercial, or the narration in a documentary or audio book, and thought, “Hey, I could do that!”?

Just read the Extra Income Opportunity on e-books (link ebook essay). Wow, another home run. The quality of the information we receive as members of the Wealth Builders Club is simply amazing. A resounding WELL DONE! Club member K.K. Anil Mani did. With experience in the Merchant Navy, Anil chanced upon the profession of becoming a VO artiste. Anil has done TV and radio commercial voice-overs for Kingfisher Airlines, Volkswagon, Bajaj Steel and even Gitanjali, the collection of poems by Rabindranath Tagore.

So did Harish Bhimani. A VO professional who was famous during the times of the serial Mahabharata on Doordarshan and became famous for his line: Main Samay Hoon. He has provided voice-overs for numerous TV campaigns, documentaries and sound-and-light shows.

If Anil and Harish broke into VO work, the truth is, you probably can as well. Voice-over work is an extra income opportunity where the barriers to entry are low. You need a voice, but not a golden one. And if you are not already good at voice work, with training you can improve. You can start and run a successful VO business with an initial investment of only a few hundred of dollars.

Plus, the work is fun and at times even a bit glamorous. Yet, you can do it at home wearing your robe and slippers, for only a few hours per day. And if you tell people you have done a voice-over they heard, they will think that's really cool.

You can find more information on the voice-over business at:

Some Indian websites include:

Best, Bob Bly

Use Your Voice To Make The Cash Registers Ring (Part I)

I've always been intrigued by voice-overs but it was only recently after reading Bob Bly's article that I decided to go out and explore it for myself. This is an extra-income opportunity that really interests me, because it helps me capitalise on something that I'm already using for various reasons, but not in a structured way, i.e. my voice.

So I enrolled in a two-day voice-over artistes' training course conducted by Neeraj Mehra, a voice-over artiste and coach for several budding voice actors. His website is a platform for several artistes to showcase their repertoire.

Conducted in a sound studio with sound technicians, professional scripts and processed sound clips, the course was a complete immersion into the various aspects of this lucrative vocation. I returned from the course with several learnings, which I'm about to share with you in this special report.

I also came back with a host of my own voice samples ranging from audio book narrations to interactive voice responses (IVRs) and promotional jingles that I'm still busy posting on various websites, the names of which I will share with you later in Part 2 of this report.

Me at the recording studio

VOICE: An asset you already have

But more than the tangibles of the course, what it really did was open up a new world by the simple discovery of an asset I already possessed - my voice. The course made me view my voice and its strengths and weaknesses in a whole different light.

Additionally, it gave my confidence a huge boost, and now I consciously slow down my pace of talking and bring in a little more modulation, even in my every day speech. I'm also paying closer attention to the different mediums where we hear voice artistes and listening more carefully to how people say things.

After researching several websites and talking to many more people who are already in the business, I am completely convinced that this extra-income opportunity has fairly decent rates of success. All it needs is focus, a few minutes of daily practice and the ability to market yourself to studios, production houses and corporates looking for talent.

This report will give you a brief glimpse of the various aspects of this alternative career that you too can start pursuing very easily and yes, make some big bucks too.

Why you should be a VO artiste

We are in an age where everything has either music or dialogue. There is little that is untouched by the use of voices. From movies to audio books, to e-learning materials, documentaries, advertisements and automated responses, the market for voices is dynamic and diverse, giving everyone a place and niche of their own.

If you pick up your phone and dial your internet service provider, you will meet with a mature woman's voice who tells you exactly what to do step-by-step. Likewise, if you're in a movie theatre, you will see promotional ads in short films made with the use of still photography and voice-overs, and even on a moving train, you no longer need to look out the window to know what station is coming up next - all you need to do is pay attention to the woman making announcements on the intercom.

Moreover the internet has opened up several avenues for voice artistes. Podcasts have become quick-fixes for those who would rather listen than read, YouTube tutorials have replaced real-world coaching and even company websites have online videos describing their vision and services. Video games are a growing genre of entertainment that also require voice-overs.

And yes, all of them are scripted, pre-recorded and need a variety of fresh voices. There is no reason why that voice could not be yours.

Especially, in a multi-lingual country like India…

Dubbing is another fast-emerging phenomenon in the market for voice-overs. Many books and movies are being translated into various languages for greater dissemination. This means that if you are proficient in more than one language, you could consider doing voice-overs in more languages than one. Believe it or not, good quality voice artistes in regional languages are very rare and they definitely have a premium.

Thus, the platforms and opportunities for new-age voice artistes have grown tremendously in the past few years. It has also got more democratized and there is no longer a monopoly of a few “good” voices. The internet is full of websites where you can upload your samples and details and you never know how quickly you may land an assignment.

Nowadays, students, teachers, homemakers and professionals alike are investing a little time and money, and becoming an integral part of this booming industry.

Do it the way it works for you

The opportunity is one that can be pursued part-time, alongside your existing job. A couple of hours post work in a studio is all you need. And if you can't travel to the studio, bring the studio home. A popular concept called 'home studio' now enables artists to complete assignments from home and e-mail the voice clips or send them on a CD to clients. (You will find more details on creating your Home Studio in Part 2 of this report.)

But if this seems like too much of an effort, there is still one more option - hire your nearest recording studio for a couple of hours. When the quantum of work you get is too much, this becomes a more viable and professional option as you can also avail of the other facilities of a recording studio like a sound technician who will guide you during your voice-overs.

How to get started as a VO artiste

Voice acting is nothing short of an art but, unlike an art form, it doesn't need years of formal training. A voice artiste like any other actor is a story-teller who has to captivate the audience with emotion and dialogue. Story-telling requires a lot of energy and conviction in the script on hand, and that's where the versatility of the voice actor comes into play.

Voice Artiste Bharatkumar Thanvi

Bharatkumar Thanvi was in the media, spent some time in the corporate world and is now a full-time voice-over artiste and stand-up comedian. He was fed up of the corporate rut, knew he had other talents to offer and wished to capitalise on them. What started out as a part-time career, eventually became a full-fledged business. Today he performs solo shows, is an excellent mimic artist, busy the whole day in a sound studio and takes the occasional course in voice training.

Bharat took up VOs as a career because he had a range of voice forms to showcase. He moves easily from being a rabbit in a Hindi cartoon serial to being a serious narrator for a documentary on India.

But you'll be surprised that even just a voice with clear diction and a good command over the language can do the trick. And that's why it is often seen that people who read a lot like academicians and tutors often opt for becoming voice artistes in their spare time.

For experts and academics…

With e-learning becoming an important avenue with textbooks, courses and live tutorials online, this space is a growing one for experts on various topics. All one needs is fluency and some amount of exposure to the terminology used in the subjects. Giving your voice to children's audio books is also an interesting option for those with a background in teaching. But here emoting and expressing become important. In addition to your clear voice, the skill of story-telling is also a useful one.

Getting into the skin of different characters and bringing them alive for younger listeners is key. For example, voice-over artiste Sucharita Tyagi in an article in The Economic Times says, “Contrary to what many think, voice-over is not just about reading the lines into a microphone. I have to step into the skin of the character I am lending my voice to… Also, you have to take care of how you speak into the microphone, the distance and the angle of your head so that you are able to emphasise the right words, the right way.”

Cultivate your voice with practice

Some of us have a good voice while some of us don't. Either way there is no reason that a good voice need not be cultivated for professional use. The process is pretty similar to doing riyaaz or regular practice for a singing career, but only simpler.

The vocal muscles need to be exercised, certain precautions need to be taken and a range of scales need to be traversed. You may have to move from a low pitch to a high pitch to a medium one depending on the nature and content of the script.

Here are some tips to help you take your first steps as a voice-over artiste:

Start observing the different mediums that use voice-overs. Pay special attention to the way people speak, the accents, the pauses and the intonations (the inherent rhythm of the speech).

Google a script of your choice from any of the script websites or even from YouTube, which will have the words and the video together in one place.

Or choose 2-3 paragraphs (an A-4 size page when printed) of any text (a book, newspaper or magazine) and start reading it out loud.

Focus first on the language, punctuation, different stress words and then move on to adding emotion to it. Repeat this many times, till you overcome most errors and can complete the whole A4 size page without any glitches.

A quick way to regain your stamina, is by simple exercises like chanting 'OM', making the humming sound like in the yogic exercise Bhramari and even the lion's roar in Singhasana, where you sit on you haunches, put your toungue out and make the sound 'aaaa' with full force.

Going through the Sa Re Ga Ma scale forward and backward also helps improve your range.

When you are ready and confident, the next step is to build a portfolio of your work. But in order to do so make sure, you are comfortable with a range of scripts that cover various aspects of voice rendition.

If you would like a career in more than one language, get familiar in scripts of the other language too.

Part 2 of the report will discuss more technical issues. Most of which will be extremely useful before you enter any sound recording studio:

Ways to market your voice Recording terminology you should be familiar with How to improve your voice quality A focus on pronunciation and diction Setting up your Home Studio An interview with an industry expert

Use Your Voice To Make The Cash Registers Ring (Part II)

In Part 1, I gave you a brief introduction on the wide range of possibilities you have before you if you decide to enter the voice-overs industry. In this part, I will share with you some specifics on how to go about entering it and once done, how you can land yourself more assignments, work from home and keep improving your voice quality.

Later in the essay, industry expert Neeraj Mehra will share his views on this booming extra-income opportunity. Let's get started…

Marketing your voice to studios and on websites

Once your voice samples are ready, the next step to take them to studios in and around your area. Most studios are already connected with sound technicians and producers who are always looking for new talent for their productions. If you don't mind the long drive, explore studios in other areas too. In Mumbai especially, most studios are located in Andheri, closer to where Bollywood and the television industry is.

Services like JustDial tell you exactly just how many studios there are in your city and where they are located. This service can also be used to upload your profile, similar to other websites for freelancers like and

You can take pen-drives and simply load the samples on to the machines at sound studios or you can drop a CD with your work. A good idea is to keep samples of your voice loaded on your smart phone, if you do get an enquiry, you can quickly Whatsapp the sound clip to the client. It gives the person on the other end an instant idea of your voice and takes you higher up in the selection process.

You should make an effort to stay connected with sound studios and build a rapport with them, so that they always have you on top of their minds when they get new projects.

Other avenues for promotion include paying for listings and webpages on specific websites for voice actors like,, , and to name a few. These will help you get greater online visibility and put you in direct contact with professionals in the industry.

Creating a profile on YouTube and audio-specific websites like also helps.

Tips to improve your voice quality

When the jobs get many and the voice gets strained, here are some tips that can help you get your voice back and also improve its quality.

Stay hydrated and drink enough room-temperature water throughout the day. Avoid diuretics like caffeine and alcohol. Add olive oil to your diet. Opera singers use olive oil to gargle before singing, as it lubricates the vocal cords. Drink green tea as it protects your throat from free radicals that damage tissue. Add honey to your tea to help coat the throat and protect it from infections. Avoid singing in dry, smoggy, or smoky environments if possible. Avoid smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars as they harm your vocal cords and general health. Do vocal warm-ups before your assignment. Start with a low volume, at a lower range and then move up gradually to higher scales. Minimise the use of your vocal cords before an assignment. Don't talk loudly or too much to avoid the overuse of your vocal cords; give them some rest instead. Don't take on a range that is different from your natural one as that will mean you will stretch your vocal cords and damage them eventually. It is essential to consciously speak from your diaphragm — the large muscle at the base of your ribcage that controls the rate of your breathing. It helps modulate your voice better. Stay calm and avoid any stress before a voice-over. Stress tightens the throat, thus adversely affecting your performance. Generally maintain good health with a balanced diet, sufficient exercise and enough sleep that helps you get rested and stay fresh for the next performance.

Setting up your Home Studio

The Home Studio is very effective right from the time you start creating your voice samples. The first step in this process is to download a sound recording and editing software called Audacity onto your computer. In addition to this you will need good quality headphones with a microphone on it. A good brand that is often recommended is Sennheiser. Also, headphones which cover your ears completely work better.

This set-up works well when you're just getting initiated into voice acting. As you grow and get more assignments, you may need more professional equipment like a sound card and professional mic. A popular sound card brand is M-audio Fastrack and it is easily available on Amazon, Flipkart or eBay. The next investment will be in a professional mic, some names are Sennheiser e845 and Shure SM58.

To shut away the noise you can create a console in your home by using sound absorption material as is shown below and add a stand for the mic and sound card.

Photos Courtesy:

A home studio has many advantages, the most obvious being you don't need to travel and can work from the comfort of your own home. Another advantage is that you can work in the early hours of the morning or late into the night and finish your assignments before and after your work hours. For long projects, like e-books which are largely solitary in nature and take a couple of days to finish, your home studio will help you complete it at your own pace.

But do invest in a home studio only once you have a good body of assignments and if it is indeed a viable option for you.

Sound recording terminology you should be familiar with

You don't want to sound like a novice when you enter a sound studio for the first time. Thus, it's a good idea to get acquainted with sound terminology that will help you save time and communicate better in a studio. So here's a list to know before your first assignment:

Take - Action / start speaking Option - Give another take with different flow / energy Fumble - An error made while speaking Energy - Put power without shouting Understated - Narrate a statement naturally Enthusiastically - Add more liveliness to the narration Soft - Put a mild, sensuous quality in the words Grains - The sound of audible grains at the end of words denoting a high baritone Conscious - Getting focused on words instead of the content Buff /blow - A puff of air suddenly hitting the mic usually in aspirated consonants Clarity - Each word should sound clear Dip - Energy falling down while speaking Drag - Stretching the words too much Modulation - Adding emotions on specific words Pause/dot pause - Full stop/comma Off the mic - Standing diagonally to avoid blows Definite ending - Ending a sentence with emphasis Stress - Putting strength on specific words Pace - The speed of your narration Pitch - Same as Sa Re Ga Ma or the scale or the note of your voice Projection - The amount of voice reaching the mic Tempo - The speed at which a recording is played, measured in beats per minute (bpm) Talkback - Intercom in the monitoring room for the engineer to talk to the VO artist Safety take - Another take as backup Cut it - End it

Focus on pronunciation and diction

Clarity of speech is one of the number one factors in a voice-over career. The right stress on words, correct pronunciations and adequate meaning through emotion is paramount in your delivery.

Nowadays, when you are in doubt about pronunciations, you can even consult apps like HowJSay and MacmillanEducationApp. Additionally, you can carry a pocket dictionary with you to the studio or Google your favourite online dictionary from your smart phone. It always helps to get the script from the client a little in advance so that you have some time to prepare yourself.

You will also need to verify if you need to follow the American pronunciations or British ones. Accents also come into play and if you can give your voice that extra twang, you'll do well for IVRs and in-flight announcements. Our Indian accent is pretty neutral but we have to stay away from regional language crossovers while speaking.

An Industry Expert Speaks

Neeraj Mehra Neeraj Mehra started his career as a voice artiste at a time when it was still not such a known profession. While working in a video studio, he would often fill in for the voice-overs as and when needed, eventually making him explore it as a career.

Today, he is a successful voice actor, runs a website for upcoming voice artistes called and also conducts workshops which train and guide voice actors. In an interview with him, I asked him a few questions that every newbie is curious about. Read on…

What made you start I started writing articles on voicing to promote my own work and skills. But the maximum responses I got from readers were queries on how to go about it. So I decided to start a website which would help promote people who were looking at it as an alternate career. We launched in 2006 but it was only in 2009 that we added a business model through subscriptions for the various services provided.

What do you see as the biggest advantage of the digital age? The communication medium has become very strong and sound clips can be sent through any medium and in many formats. In this era, all you need to do is focus on selling your voice.

How successful have your workshops been? In 2009, I tied up with a studio to start training workshops. We got a great response and were booked for the next 2-3 months. We have since conducted more than 100 workshops across the country in place like Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and Cochin. 300+ students have already successfully entered the voice-over industry professionally. 75 percent of them are freelancers while the rest are in it full-time.

What are the opportunities in the current voice-over market? Voice is the biggest medium which is needed in all formats, any video is incomplete without it. Telephony and EPABX for private office use is another big area. E-learning which started ten years ago is also becoming a lucrative area. Mobile apps too need voice-overs and new ones are being created every day.

How much do VO artists typically start earning? There is no fixed rate card, but we created one on our website just so that new artistes don't get exploited. Most projects are negotiable and each artiste keeps his/her own benchmark on what they wish to charge. The medium also determines the costing. For example, if an ad will be broadcast many times and in large mediums like TV, you can charge more.

What are the initial investments for a VO artiste? Nothing, you just need your talent and skill. You should have a good command over the language. And keep your mobile phone switched on through the day to receive any offers. If you wish to save on travel time and costs, you could start a home studio that can range anywhere between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 5 lac, depending on the equipment you buy.

Any advice for newcomers? Improve your language by reading a lot. Listen to the way people speak, observe their styles so you can copy them when needed and speak in reasonable limits so that you don't strain your voice.

You can read more articles by Neeraj Mehra here.

So put on your headphones, start recording your voice, play it back to yourself and hear just how good you are… the world of voice-overs awaits you!

Well, I sure had fun writing this report and I hope you enjoyed reading it too. If there are any more queries, you have on this subject, do write in to

Note: Some parts of this article have emerged from the notes taken at the workshop conducted by Neeraj Mehra. WBC is grateful to him for helping create this report.

Extra Income Opportunity #13: Make Money Helping Students Succeed

During my high school days, I briefly tutored a friend in math. I felt well paid with his mother's delicious home- cooked Italian dinners.

Although I did not realize it at the time, I had what it takes to succeed as a tutor. A tutor should have two main attributes: First, a firm grasp of a subject matter others will pay to learn. Second, the ability to teach that subject matter effectively.

If you are able to teach something to others, you can make spare-time income or even a handsome full-time living as a tutor. Tutoring can afford you an enjoyable lifestyle, flexible hours, a low-stress job, a lot of personal freedom, and an income in the mid-to-upper five figures… though some tutors make even more., the world's largest and highest-rated online tutoring company, states that tutoring is:

An ideal opportunity for stay-at-home moms and dads, college students, teachers, retirees, and professionals seeking flexible ways to earn extra income and help keep your resume sharp.

The National Tutoring Association (NTA), estimates that - globally - tutoring is a $50-70 billion industry, with anywhere from 30-50 million tutors worldwide. It reports that tutoring has more than doubled in the last decade. This is due mostly to the rise of dual-income households in which parents lack the time to help with schoolwork. There is also increased pressure to get into a good college.

I asked some of my Facebook friends - who are tutors - what they like about the profession. Here's what they had to say:

D.J. says the best part about tutoring is, “the one-on-one nature of it… the ability to truly make a difference.” She tutors primary school children in reading.

S.J. says the greatest reward of being a tutor is “that moment when the light goes on and they get it.” S.J. goes on to say, “Moving someone from a state of not understanding to a state of understanding is a big shift, and it is exciting to be a part of that. Then they see the world differently with their newfound understanding, and it can change so many things for them.”

B.A. has tutored middle school children in math and elderly adults in basic computer skills. She says with her students, fear stopped the learning process. Once she was able to get them to relax and overcome their fear, “learning became very fast.”

J.A. has tutored in the U.S., China, and Ecuador, teaching both children and adults. She says that tutoring adults helps them get closer to their personal and professional goals. “For kids, I like helping them see that the task in front of them was neither hard nor impossible.”

G.D. has tutored students from first grade through college level. He liked tutoring not only because he enjoyed seeing his students succeed, but also because teaching others kept his own skills sharp.

In India, N.K. gives private tuitions to school students who prefer personal attention over group coaching classes. His commitment to his students is so high that at times he's working with them late into the night to ensure they feel motivated and confident a day before their exams.

Why Tutoring Is a Great Extra Income Opportunity

As I always like to remind our subscribers, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months to determine the specific criteria every opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria to see how well tutoring passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Well, maybe not anyone can be a tutor. But the vast majority of us can. That's because most of us possess some specialized knowledge that others need to learn - either to do well in school or to get a professional certification. At the very least, you know English. And the demand for tutors who can teach English is large.

Not everyone is good at teaching, but with practice, you can learn to become an effective teacher. Tutoring, which is mostly one-on-one teaching, is easier than public speaking or training. This is because you can easily adjust your presentation to the needs of the student.

However, you must know the subject inside and out. If you cannot answer questions, aren't familiar with the material, or the student sees they know more than you, your tutoring gig will be extremely short-lived.

As far as home businesses go, tutoring is about as simple as they get. You don't need a staff, inventory, any special software, or equipment. You need just your mouth and brain. That's it.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

You can run your tutoring business from a home office. The woman we hired to help our oldest son in college with Spanish ran the largest tutoring service in our area from her home.

The tutor typically goes to the student's home. Some tutors work with students in their own homes, though it's not as common. A third option is meeting in a public place, such as a coffee shop or a local library.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or weekends.

Most tutoring takes place weekdays after school from 4-9 p.m. and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. So if you have another job, you can supplement your income by tutoring after work on evenings as well as weekends.

Tutoring offers you a flexible choice of part-time or full-time work, depending on how many students you decide to take on.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital.

Tutoring has virtually zero start-up expenses. The students own the textbooks. Many tutors require their students to buy second copies of the textbooks and give those to them. The tutors do not pay for them.

You need access to transportation to get to and from your meeting place. That means either a car or bus. You need access to a photocopier to make copies of worksheets and other teaching materials, which you can do with a home scanner or any local xerox shop in your neighbourhood.

Other than that, anyone, even without any money, can get started as a tutor. There are no licenses, certificates, or special training required.

Technically, you don't even need to be a college graduate. (Though most clients prefer that their tutors hold at least a Bachelor's in the field they are teaching or a related field.) For instance, the chemistry tutor we hired for my younger son had a B.S. in chemistry, but he also tutored physics. P.P., who tutored in French, did not have a degree in the language but, having grown up in France, was fluent.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 500-5,000 per hour.

The lower end of that range is achievable by tutors, who earn anywhere from Rs. 500 to more than Rs. 1,500 per hour, depending on subject, location, and customers.

According to an article in The Times of India: “A CBSE school teacher charges Rs 500 per hour, while a software engineer is paid Rs 400 to Rs 500. College students who teach get about Rs 350.”

Tutoring is an ideal spare-time business for putting some extra cash in your pocket. If you charge Rs. 500 per hour and tutor 10 hours per week, you can make Rs. 2,60,000 per year in extra income.

Can you make Rs. 1,500 per hour? Fees are all over the place: SAT, LSAT, and GMAT tutors in Mumbai charge anywhere from Rs. 1,000 to several thousand rupees per hour. Beginning tutors are often tempted to set their prices lower than other tutors in their area. But despite what you may think, a lot of clients avoid the low-priced vendors, believing that if they charge so little they must be inferior.

In addition to telling clients your fee upfront, also tell them your cancellation policy. Clients may reschedule frequently. If they cancel 24 hours before the appointment, you probably won't find another student who can fill that slot. So you lose income. Warning: Some clients object to paying cancellation fees and may leave you for another tutor if you charge them.

Discuss late fees with the client. For instance, if the student shows up 20 minutes late for an hour-long session and you must end on time, he gets only 40 minutes instead of an hour's instruction. How much do you want him to pay-the full amount?

Tutors are paid only for the hour they actually tutor. You are not compensated for the time it takes you to prepare a lesson or to read the textbook your student is working from.

B.L., a tutor in north India, works for a large tutoring service for CBSE exams. She splits the Rs.500 per hour fee 50/50-half for her and half for the service. She is compensated only for tutoring time, not for her travel time to-and-from the student's home.

At the top of the tutoring profession are the “super tutors.” They tutor the children of Bollywood celebrities, rock stars, business tycoons, professional athletes, and royalty. They report earning as much as Rs. 5,000 per hour or more.

“The demand from rich parents for tutoring has been growing over the past three years,” says super tutor M.M. He is in such demand that wealthy families offer to double or triple his normal rate of nearly Rs. 3,000 per hour if he will squeeze their children into his busy schedule. M.M. says the best way to build credibility as a tutor is to have a solid record of helping kids achieve good marks.

Back in the day, having a tutor was sometimes considered shameful, a sign that your child was lazy or unintelligent. But in today's hyper-competitive world, parents are eager to give their children every edge in life, and for those who can afford it, that means hiring a tutor.

Getting Started As a Tutor

J.M ., who runs a tutoring service focused on helping students pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), so they can apply to universities abroad, says that there are three basic requirements for becoming a tutor:

Experience in what you are tutoring - a degree, certificate, or life experience Experience in some kind of teaching situation Evidence that you are an effective teacher - testimonials from students and your track record.

What subjects do tutors teach? Virtually every subject taught in school from elementary through college, as well as preparation for the SATs, GMATs, (CETs in India) and every other standardized test under the sun.

As I already mentioned, teaching experience or a degree are not always required for all subjects. There aren't any national or state guidelines for tutoring qualifications, making it a relatively easy field to enter.

One local tutor in my county, who teaches PC-related topics - such as using spreadsheets and database-management systems - is entirely self-taught and learned his skills on the job. He does not have a computer science degree or programming certification.

What skills or features do you need to be a good tutor? Tutor K.S. says that good tutors have a lot of patience, are firm with students about expectations, are well-organized, can approach a topic from different directions, and are good listeners. Because students are often frustrated with the difficulty they've had with the subject, “all tutoring students need to vent before they can focus,” she says.

Getting Tutoring Clients

Tutors can get clients both through online marketing as well as some old-fashioned offline advertising.

Online, there are services that can match you with students so you do not have to go out and find them on your own. Here are a few: will give you a free listing for your tutoring services. On the website, you can apply to become an online tutor.

Some Indian websites that provide the same services are:

You can also post fliers in your neighborhood with a description of what you do, along with your phone number. Good places to post fliers include local schools as well as boards in well-travelled areas such as supermarkets and coffee shops. (Be sure to ask for permission before posting.)

Many tutors get business through word of mouth. J.S., an experienced tutor, says that every time you work with a student, you should make sure they have your contact information and encourage them to tell their friends about you.

Visit local schools and introduce yourself to teachers and guidance counselors, who, according to J.S., are the best source of referrals for K-12 students.

“It's always best to have the course instructor or classroom teacher aware of you and behind your efforts so you can work in tandem to support student learning,” says K.S. “Younger students have their parents behind them, so even if they aren't into it, their parents make sure they are there.”

You can also get future students through, a classified advertisement website with sections devoted to jobs, services, housing, freelancers, etc.

Set up a simple website. When potential students see your site, they'll be confident that you are a serious professional tutor. Tutor P.P. says you will get a better response to your advertising if you state your rates.

Many communities have learning centers for their members that hire freelance tutors. Their rates are higher than independent tutors, and the tutors they use get about half of what the client pays the center.

Building the Business

At the beginning, most tutors start with a handful of students and work only part- time a few hours per week. But if you do a good job for your clients and market yourself, you can turn tutoring into a full-time job if you wish.

As a one-person tutoring company, you are limited in income to the number of hours you can tutor per week. Some tutors overcome this. When they start to get more students than they have time to handle, they hire other tutors to teach the overflow and take a cut of the money.

Another way to grow your tutoring income is to tutor groups. If you charge Rs. 1,000 per hour and tutor five students as a group, you then make Rs. 5,000 per hour.

Online tutoring is another option. Again, the money is in tutoring multiple students simultaneously. You can do this with an audio conferencing service such as or a webinar-type service such as Citrix's

Online tutorial websites in India you can register your services on are:

Some tutors I spoke with love tutoring and earn so much money that they have stuck with tutoring for decades. A lot of others tutored for a few years, when it fit their lifestyle and financial needs. The choice is up to you.

Best, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #14: An Opportunity for People With Good Taste

Editor's Note: Here's an Extra Income Opportunity that is truly novel in the Indian market, giving you greater chances of having the first mover advantage. While Indians don't change homes that frequently, a large number do rent out homes and own services apartments or even provide bed and breakfast services. And here's where such a service may come in handy. If you have an eye for fine furniture, if you have a taste for good artefacts and furnishings and, if in fact, you've always dreamed to work with interiors, here's your chance to do so.

Home staging covers everything from cleaning up a house to sprucing it up with likable and saleable interiors. It's a craze in the US, where home stagers are in huge demand, but there's no reason you can't make it a great business idea here too…

* Bob Bly, Author, Common Sense Publishing Back when there were no rules on cigarette ads, Winston ran a TV commercial that asked, “What do you want? Good grammar or good taste?” Well, if you have good taste in home decorating and furnishings, I have an extra income proposal that might be perfect for you: home staging. The best way to understand home staging is to recall when you last looked at a model home or sample flat in a new development. Even though no one lived there, it wasn't empty. It was fully furnished. There were curtains on the windows, perfumed soaps in the bathroom, and a bowl of fake fruit in the kitchen. That's staging. It's making a house look warm, friendly, and inviting to attract buyers and offers - at full asking price. You might think as I do, “Why not just leave the house empty? Buyers don't need all that fake furnishing.” But you'd be wrong. Staged homes and fully decorated flats sell much faster. My wife, Amy, is a home stager. She regularly stages homes to, as she explains, get them to sell faster and for more money. There are two basic types of staging: vacant and occupied. In vacant homes, you bring in everything - furniture and accessories. In occupied homes, you work with the furniture the homeowner already has. If their furniture is of good quality, your job might be rearranging things to create a more pleasing layout - though many stagers offer extra accessories. If the seller owns junk, you might advise them to put it in storage and rent more modern, attractive furniture and accessories. Why Home Staging Is a Great Extra Income Opportunity As I like to remind you, when Mark started the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure. To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months to define the criteria every proposal had to meet. Let's review these criteria to see how well home staging passes our litmus test… First - anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). Well, home staging isn't rocket science. You don't need a degree, license, or certificate. Many people who have some experience in interior design and related fields might become home stagers. But some stagers have little or no formal training. My wife took several courses at a college. She earned an interior design certificate. She also took added training in staging techniques, marketing, and setting up the business. The main requirement for doing home staging is to have good interior design sense and taste. If you possess that trait, home staging might be a natural way for you to earn extra income. Second - you should be able to start the opportunity from the comfort of your own home. Most home stagers Amy and I know have home offices. But the house the client is selling is where the work is done. A word about furniture and accessories: Most home stagers own a modest collection of accessories such as rugs, lamps, bedspreads, pillows, vases, etc. It helps to have a place to store them. If you live in a tiny house or apartment, you can rent a storage unit. This is what Amy did until we moved into a home with a big basement. As for furniture, some stagers rent furniture for their home staging. That's what Amy does. The client pays the rental fee, and the furniture retailers that provide the rentals pay a commission to the stager. The furniture rental company delivers the furniture for the staging. Then they pick it up once the home is off the market. Some stagers keep all the commission, or they may pass some of it along to the client to help defray the cost of the rental. Other developers who have long-term plans for selling apartments will buy the furniture and other accessories for their sample flats. Third - you can choose to work part-time or on the weekends. This is true to a degree. Amy does work part-time. And she does do staging on weekends. But as a home stager, you have to accommodate the client's schedule. If the client works and can meet you only in the evenings, that's what you have to do. If you are hired to stage a vacant house, the client will usually give you a key. Then you can pretty much come and go when you please. Fourth - the opportunity should not require a lot of start-up capital. The biggest start-up expense for home stagers is buying an inventory of furniture, unless as explained, the majority of home stagers opt to use furniture rental companies. New stagers rarely invest in furniture. Buying an inventory of accessories is a much smaller start-up expense. You can start with a couple of thousand rupees and gradually add items to your collection. In India, places like Chor Bazaar in Mumbai are a dream to source interesting old furniture and not pay a fortune for your inventory. You will also have to spend a little money on marketing tools such as business cards, presentation folders, postcard mailers, a website, and brochures. Fifth - you should be able to make Rs. 2,000-Rs.10,000 per hour from it. Some home stagers charge by the hour and others by the room or the house. The pay should work out to between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 6,000 per hour for it to be a good investment of your time. One warning: Home staging can be physically challenging. You have to carry things into and out of homes. You may find yourself helping to move furniture. You don't have to be really strong, but you can't be feeble, either. Teaming up with another stager or friend, or hiring an assistant for a few hundred rupees per hour, can make this part of the job easier. Why Staging Services Sell Clients - who include homeowners, developers, investors, and real estate agents - hire professional stagers to make the home look better to present to the market. Staging guru and author Barb Schwarz found that, even in a tough housing market, 95% of staged homes sell in 35 days or fewer. By comparison, homes that are not staged take 172 days or more to sell, if they sell at all. In India, this concept is new and being practiced by big developers who pre-sell apartments in their projects. However, many homes and services apartments that are up for rentals could do with some home staging as well, increasing the possibilities of such an opportunity. In addition to helping homes sell faster, staging also helps sellers get full asking price for their homes. According to HomeGain, staging has an average return on investment of 200-586%, making it a profit center for clients. A survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC found that staged homes spend half of the time on the market compared to un-staged homes. And, on average, staged homes sell for 6% above the asking price. The problem is most home sellers don't understand all the benefits of staging. They have to be educated. When my wife visits a potential client, she carries a big binder full of articles and fact sheets making the case for staging. One of the things you can tell prospective clients to inspire them to hire you is, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the longer homes stay on the market, the further their prices drop. Therefore, a Rs. 1.5 lac staging is nothing, compared with lowering the price of your home by Rs. 5-6 lac or more because it isn't selling. Why Hire a Stager? “Why do I need a stager?” a seller might think. “I can save money and just make my home look nice myself.” Theoretically, they can, and some sellers do. In particular, Amy meets many real estate agents who discourage their clients from hiring a home stager. These agents believe they can do a good job of staging themselves, and staging requires no special skill. But the reason to hire a professional home stager is the same reason you hire a professional copywriter to write your sales letter, a professional website designer to design your website, and a CPA to prepare your tax returns. The professional has more experience, knows more, and will do a much better job. Yes, some people have good taste and can pull off staging their home themselves. But the majority of people either have bad taste or are not up on contemporary design trends, and for that reason their homes show poorly. That's where you as the home stager come in to save the day. One other important point: Home staging is similar to interior decorating in that they both aim at making a home more beautiful, but they are not identical because they have very different goals. The interior decorator has to design the home to please the homeowner, who is going to live there. So as an interior designer, you have to be aware of and cater to the client's tastes. Home staging is different. The goal of the home stager is to please the buying public, and so the design has to have broad appeal. It cannot be idiosyncratic nor should it reflect the owner's taste, which, while important to the seller, is largely irrelevant to the buyers. What Home Stagers Actually Do Home stagers typically offer three levels of service. The first is a consultation. For a couple of thousand rupees, depending on the size of the home, the stager spends an hour or two walking through the house with the owner. Room by room, the home stager makes suggestions. The next level is a consult, but with the addition of a written report prepared by the stager, giving her design suggestions. The report, which typically runs around 10 pages, provides a room-by-room checklist of the stager's recommendations. The report costs another Rs. 5,000-15,000 above the base consult fee. The top level of service is for the home stager to implement her recommendations and physically do the staging herself. At least, this involves rearranging the seller's furniture and accessories to create a more appealing layout. It may also require bringing in accessories and furniture. The stager may recommend painting the walls and other home repairs. But these are the duty of the homeowner, not the stager. Step One: Training Okay… So you want to try your hand at home staging. What are the next steps? Unless you were born with natural talent and good taste, you can benefit from training in staging and interior design. Look around your area for crash courses on interior design that will work just as well for home staging. Or take an online course.. Second, you need clients. For a home stager, potential clients include home sellers, developers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. Many stagers work primarily with home sellers directly. The home seller wants the benefits staging can deliver: a faster sale at a higher price. Home staging is a price-sensitive service, however, so be prepared to haggle a bit. Investors, in particular those in the business of flipping houses, are extremely tight with their money and are looking for the lowest price possible. On the other hand, they do offer potential for repeat business. A real estate developer with multiple homes to sell will call in a home stager to stage the model home. They want it to be a showcase and therefore are willing to pay your fee. Real estate agents, theoretically, can refer you to home sellers who need staging. But so many agents are scrambling for business that agents are a marginal source of leads at best. Step Two: Marketing Your Staging Services For many home stagers, finding home sellers, developers, and investors interested in hiring a stager is the major barrier to success. How do you market your home staging services? Especially when the field itself is new and word is just getting out. Most home stagers agree that having a website is the cornerstone of their marketing. Two things are useful for your home-staging website. First, have as many photos of rooms you've staged or designed as you can. Second, optimize your website for local searches. For instance, if you live in New Delhi, optimize for the term “home stager-New Delhi.” When clients are happy with your staging, ask for testimonials and permission to post them on your site. Some home stagers make presentations on the benefits of home staging to local real estate offices. The goal is to convince the agents to recommend staging and the stager to their clients. Ideally, developers and service apartments are the best potential clients. An often-suggested marketing tactic is to write articles on your area of expertise- in this case, staging. My wife published such an article in the local town paper. It generated two phone calls but no actual assignments… But at least, it's a start! Some Tips Before You Start High-end clients with expensive homes are better targets initially as there's more money to work with and not much work to be done. Build your clientele through referrals from real estate agents, architects, interior decorators, and happy clients. You can spend half your time on decorating projects and the rest of the time doing consultations and proposals and organizing rental furniture for vacant home stagings. For bigger homes, it may help to use an assistant to lug in the stuff and help hang art. But it shouldn't be a problem doing smaller projects on your own. To create awareness on your services, register on sites like which already have names of some home stagers listed. Best, Bob Bly ====== Extra Income Opportunity #15: Make Rs. 3-4 lac per Hour or More as a Professional Speaker ====== Bob Bly I have some good news for you: An overwhelming number of people are terrified of speaking in public. Author George Plimpton once wrote, “One of life's terrors for the uninitiated is to be asked to make a speech.” A survey from The Times of London found that more than four out of 10 respondents listed public speaking as their number-one fear. Just hearing the word “speech” sent shivers down their spines. Why is this good news for you? Because it means less competition in the very lucrative world of paid public speaking. If you aren't afraid of talking in front of a group, the world can be your oyster. But even if you are afraid, with practice you can overcome the fear - and succeed as a professional speaker. Why I Love Making Money As a Part-time Professional Speaker When Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure. To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They established specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention. Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well professional speaking passes our litmus test… First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). I can't think of an extra-income opportunity that's as simple and easy to understand as speaking. After all, we all talk all the time. Anyone can turn speaking into a side career, because virtually everyone can speak. True, speakers have to know something an audience would pay to hear. But many of us already possess some kind of specialized knowledge of value to others. And if not, we can certainly learn. Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home. Almost every speaker I know has a home office. That's because you don't necessarily need an outside office. As a speaker, you don't need to entertain or meet with potential clients in your office. Now, the actual speaking takes place at a meeting or conference site. That could be anywhere. So for some periods, speakers do spend time traveling. This might be an opportunity for you to enjoy the free travel. As a side note: Virtually all the international travel I've done in my life - including trips to Korea, Poland, Germany, England, France, Canada, and Italy - was paid for in - full by speaking clients. Your speaking clients pay all expenses for your travel. That includes air fare, ground transportation, food, and lodging. But don't take unfair advantage. A speaker who orders a $90 (Rs. 5,500 approx.) bottle of wine with his dinner is unlikely to be hired again. Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends. Speaking usually starts out as a part-time gig. At the beginning, you are working to attract clients and book engagements, and you won't have that many talks lined up. Through hard work and proactive marketing, you can build up your speaking to a full-time business. I would say that any speaker who brings in $2,000 (approx. Rs. 1.5 lac) - plus per talk and gives 30 or more fee-paid presentations per year can be considered a full-time speaker. You can often set your schedule as you wish. Business seminars target corporate employees and are usually held on weekdays. Seminars aimed at entrepreneurs and the public are often held on the weekends - or evenings, for shorter programs. Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of start-up capital. The cost of getting into speaking is minimal. You need a telephone, a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, and several good-quality business suits - speakers must dress nicely. You will also have to spend anywhere from several thousand rupees to a lac or more on marketing materials. That includes business cards, brochures, and a website. And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 10,000 - Rs 15,000 per hour. Here is where speaking shines. Clients pay speakers on a “per-hour” basis, and the fees are usually high. In the beginning, a budding speaker may speak for free - at a chamber of commerce meeting, for example - just for the experience and exposure. He then may start charging smaller groups for short talks - maybe $500 - 1,000 (In India, Rs. 5,000 - Rs. 10,000) per hour. A more experienced speaker can charge $2,000 - 5,000 (In India, approx. Rs. 25,000 - 50,000) per hour. He might deliver a speech at association meetings or corporate training seminars. And the presentation length might range from an hour to a full day. Top speakers earn $5,000 - 10,000 (In India, Rs. 50,000 - Rs. 1 lac) per day. That's especially if they speak on a technical or in-demand subject where there aren't many other speakers available. New Delhi entrepreneur and speaker F.G. speaks at his own public seminars. He also speaks at events hosted by other entrepreneurs in his fields of expertise - Internet marketing, speaking, and consulting. He makes his money primarily by selling his own books, CDs, and coaching programs at these events. According to F.G., the most he ever earned in a day was Rs.50 lac, though I have seen him at small events with much lower sales. Author D.S. is a professional speaker in the marketing field. He speaks mainly to associations and corporate clients. He earns Rs. 5 lac per keynote speech. Another speaker, G.B., trains corporate executives in business writing. He charges Rs. 75,000 for a one-day class with 10-15 students. Motivational speaker Bishal Sarkar helps corporate professionals, businessmen, managers, leaders, software engineers speak and present “like champs” so that they can create a bigger impression professionally and ultimately earn more income. He started out speaking for free, then got Rs. 1,500 for 10 hours and is today earning Rs. 3.5 lac for every 45 minutes. Read more about him and get some public speaking tips from his website here. My own fees vary. For a one-day corporate seminar on copywriting, I make $5,500 (Rs. 3,30,000 aprox). I've earned $5,000 (Rs. 3 lac approx.) to speak at a marketing boot camp for just one hour. I've also received a $10,000 (Rs. 6 lac approx.) check to give a one-day presentation on marketing for a software company. But I had to travel to Italy to do it. Once, a business partner and I promoted a one-hour teleseminar. We got hundreds of attendees at $79 (Rs.4,750 approx.) each. After splitting the net sales 50/50, I took home $9,800 (Rs. 5,90,000 approx.) for a 60-minute talk. I delivered it over the phone. I didn't even have to prepare - I knew the subject cold and just answered questions the moderator and attendees asked me. Getting Started As a Speaker Your first step is to decide what topic you will speak on. If you have published a book on your area of expertise, it's a logical choice to speak on the topic of the book. If not, take an inventory of your education, job experience, skills, specialized knowledge, hobbies, and interests. This will help to find subjects you might speak on. What do you know that individuals or meeting planners would want to hear? As Aristotle said: “Where your passions intersect with the needs of the public, therein lies your vocation.” If you speak on business topics, your audience will be either corporate employees or entrepreneurs. If corporate employees attend your seminar, their company will typically pay their attendance fees. Any entrepreneurs attending will pay their own way. Other topics - such as how to save for retirement or find a mate - are personal, not business, so attendees pay their own way. As a rule of thumb, the more specialized the topic, the higher the speaking fee you can charge. For example, I know an experienced chemical engineer who commands astronomically high fees for giving talks on designing hydrocarbon distillation towers. Almost every professional speaker I know - including me - learned his craft by starting out for free at low-profile, low-pressure venues. These can include the chamber of commerce, the Rotary Club, or even some of the local recreational clubs which regularly host speakers, as well as local chapters of associations. When I published my first book, The Elements of Technical Writing, in 1982, I promoted it by speaking in front of local chapters of the Society for Technical Communication, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and other associations whose members were techies. I wrote my next few books on marketing - another field of mine (I'm also a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant). So at first, I spoke for free to local chapters of marketing organizations. But soon a few out-of-town chapters offered to pay me a modest speaker's fee of $1,000 - 2,000 (Rs. 60,000 - Rs. 1,20,000 approx.), plus expenses. In my case, I was lucky. Because of my published books, these associations were inviting me to speak. You are more desirable as a speaker if you are also a book author. But this can often dictate the subject you speak on, which is usually the topic of your book. Most professional speakers I know have written and published at least one book on their speaking topic, either via self-publishing or through traditional publishing houses. Writing a book establishes you as an expert in your subject. And mailing a brochure with excerpts of your book to potential speaking clients helps get more speaking gigs. That's why I tell every aspiring speaker to make it a priority to also publish a book. Take for instance, Indian born, Singapore-based CEO Gyan Nagpal who wrote a book - Talent Economics: The Fine Line Between Winning and Losing the Global War for Talent. He now uses most of his book's content in his talks globally and these reflect his area of specialisation, which is a unique combination of two subjects - talent management and economics. In the video below, he explains the concepts as he displays his book prominently in the background. Author Gyan Nagpal speaks at an Event Author Gyan Nagpal speaks at an Event If you're not yet published, don't fret. Almost all local clubs and associations are looking for speakers for lunch and dinner meetings. But because they are small, they typically don't pay speakers. So if you offer a program of interest to their members, there's a good chance they'll invite you to speak, even if you are not yet famous in your field. Becoming a Good Speaker Mark Ford has four suggestions for becoming a better public speaker: First: It's always better to speak about what you know. Second: Stick to one big idea in your talk. Third: Memorize the first sentence and the last sentence of your talk. And fourth: Look at people - individual people - as you speak. This is good advice… and point No.4 is the key. Why? Most people are intimidated by the idea of speaking to a group. When they look out over the audience, they get butterflies. The solution is to pick a few people in the audience. Look directly at them. Start with audience member No.1. After several seconds, shift your gaze to another attendee. When you do this, you feel like you are having a one-on-one conversation rather than “giving a speech.” It's an instant anxiety reducer. Another good way to gain confidence as a speaker is to prepare twice as much material as you think you'll need. Beginning speakers often fret about whether they'll have enough content to fill their time slot. Having extra material on-hand eliminates that worry. Another way to take the pressure off yourself, especially when giving lengthy seminars, is to show a short training film on your topic. The video should be brief - no more than 10-20 minutes long. You can also give yourself a breather by having attendees break into small groups to do an exercise. I am shocked at the number of aspiring speakers I meet who admit that they never go to conferences to hear other speakers. The only ways to become a good speaker are (1) give a lot of talks and (2) listen to a lot of talks by other speakers. Toastmasters International is often recommended as an inexpensive way to learn public speaking. While I don't agree with some of their recommendations on how to speak, the experience you get in front of a live audience is invaluable. And it can prepare you to enter the world of paid speaking. Getting Speaking Clients As I mentioned, most speakers start by speaking for free to small local groups. Call a group or association. Ask for the name and contact information of the person in charge of finding speakers for their meetings. Then send an email to that person offering to speak at the meeting. Propose a topic and say why you are qualified to present it. Don't simply say the topic is “time management” or “customer service.” You need a catchy title for your talk. For example, use “Concierge-Level Customer Service” or “10 Time Management Secrets of the World's Busiest People.” You should also create and include a PDF document or web page with a brief description of your talk. I usually have a short paragraph explaining what it's about. Then I include a list of three to six bullet points showing some of what I will cover. You can see examples here. As a speaker, I market myself directly to clients - mainly meeting planners at national associations and managers at large corporations. For instance, when I sold my presentation “Effective Technical Writing,” it was to corporate vice presidents of engineering. Some speakers market through speakers bureaus and agents. An agent represents you exclusively. Speakers bureaus - if they find you acceptable - put you in their database of speakers. When a request comes up for your topic, they retrieve your files - along with every other filed-away speaker who offers something similar. They then look to close a deal with whichever speaker the client wants - they have no vested interest in getting you the work. You'll need a “speaker's kit” to send to agents, bureaus, and direct clients. Typically this includes a biography, the description of your program - you need separate program descriptions for each topic you do - a copy of your book if you have one, reprints of articles you have written on your topic, and a demo video of you speaking at an event. If you have it, also include a list of speaking clients and their testimonials. D.S. - the speaker I mentioned earlier who gets $22,000 (approx. Rs. 13.5 lac) per talk - speaks across the globe. He attributes his international success to his being a prolific author of business books. He says this: There is no doubt that books drive speaking. I see it every day because of my local language editions. My books are in 25 languages. And I have spoken in 40 countries. For example, last month I spoke in Bangkok, and [a few months before that] I spoke in Istanbul. I got those gigs because I'm known in those countries - my books are in Thai and Turkish. I've gotten speaking gigs through my published books and articles, my website, direct mail, and even cold calling. For instance, when I cold called one engineering V.P. to market my “Effective Technical Writing” seminar, I started by asking, “Are you sick and tired of correcting your engineers' reports and memos because of their poor writing skills?” If they answered “yes,” they were potential clients. If the answer was “no,” then they weren't. Building the Business Most speakers are solo practitioners. You can make great money as a speaker. That's because of the relatively high fees good speakers with in-demand topics can charge. Here are some ways to build your speaking practice: First, you can raise your rates. Here's a cue for when to do that: When you have all the business you can handle at Rs. 25,000 per talk, and you are turning people away because you're booked solid, it's time to raise your rate to Rs. 50,000. When you do raise your rates, tell existing clients you have done so. But I also suggest agreeing to honour their old rate for the rest of the calendar year. This eases the unpleasant shock of your rate increase. Second, you can book more speaking engagements. A beginning speaker may do one talk per month. Well-established speakers often give 50 paid presentations or more per year. If you get Rs. 50,000 per talk, you gross a minimum of Rs. 50 lac annually. That sounds attractive. But the problem is that most speakers eventually tire of the constant grind. Speaking is all active income. You only are paid when you are traveling - mostly to distant cities - to give your talks. Business travel, while exciting at first, can rapidly become tiresome. Third, form a training or consulting company to multiply your income and reduce your own speaking schedule. Then you make money by selling other speakers to clients. The speaker gets part of the fee and you get the balance. This allows you to generate revenue beyond what you can make from selling your own time. Fourth, you can generate passive income by creating and selling informational products. I believe information marketing should be every speaker's second business. With information marketing, your income is not limited by the number of hours in a day or days in a year. When I sent an email marketing message that took 15 minutes to write, I made $1,000 (approx. Rs. 60,000). Then a couple of days later, I sent a different message that also took 15 minutes to write. I made an additional $5,000 (approx. Rs. 2.5 lac). For speakers, audios and videos are the easiest informational products to create. You simply record your live presentation. Back in the day, we sold our audios on CDs and videos on DVDs. Today's customers also want the option of downloading the audio as an MP3 file and streaming the videos as MP4 files. In addition to giving you a second profit center, there's another benefit to producing informational products. They help further cement your reputation as an expert in your field. You can see all my informational products here. Best, Bob Bly ====== Extra Income Opportunity #16: Fill Your Wallet by Emptying Your Attic ====== If you were a patron of Chor Bazaar in Mumbai or Daryaganj in New Delhi and you enjoyed making the odd discovery of a priceless second-hand item that fits well in your own home, then this essay will surely interest you. Not because it opens up your world to the demand for second-hand goods but because Mark shows you how you can play an active role in the business of it as well. What's more, being a part of the second-hand goods business is now just a click away. E-commerce has changed the way, we buy, sell and resell. Online sites like eBay and OLX have made our chances for earning income through the sale of our used - but still useful - items even easier. And this is a business idea that is already seeing immense traction in India. An article in The Economic Times states that “According to search data from, one of the leading business-to-business trading platforms in the world, online demand for second-hand products in India saw a triple-digit annual growth in November 2009…” The numbers are only growing since. The market for second-hand goods is your chance to make extra income without too much effort. All you need to do is dig out what you haven't used… and will never use… and follow Mark's instructions in the essay below. P.S: Mark talks about eBay in particular, but his tips work across most second-hand websites. ***

Mark Ford, Founder, Common Sense Publishing The typical 50-year-old has loads of clutter around the house. Things just sit on shelves, in closets, up in the attic, or in the storeroom.

Some of these items, at one time, were useful. Some were greatly valued. But now they just accumulate dust. This presents an obvious income opportunity: selling them on eBay.

A neighbour of mine, an art historian and critic, had collected thousands of books on art. Many were valuable. Some were first editions. While he was working, he referred to his library often. It was also a source of pride.

But when he retired and decided to move into a smaller house, his library became a problem. If he wanted to keep it, he'd have to rent a storage space. How often would he see his precious library if it were locked up five miles across town?

So he did the smart thing. He kept about 20% of the collection-the books he thought he might reread one day. The rest he sold on eBay. He netted more than $30,000 on the sale.

Making that decision had two desirable benefits. He eliminated a future rental expense of perhaps $1,800 per year. And he put $30,000 into his retirement account. That money could easily generate an additional several thousand dollars of income per year.

But there was a third benefit, too.

In going through the process, he realized eBay was an efficient way to reach hard- to-find consumers. Had eBay not existed, he would have had to call dozens of book dealers who specialized in art books.

He would have had to send them information about the condition of each book. Then negotiated a wholesale purchase price. It would have taken him months, if not years, to sell his collection. And he would have made, at best, half of the $30,000 he got in weeks on eBay.

The trend of selling books online has become a growing one in India too. Research shows that the book industry which is growing by 20 percent in India, sees more than 10 percent of its sales from second-hand books. And the sales are now moving online to websites like,, and As the article says, alone, “has a catalogue of over 20,000 books and over 2000 sellers.”

Coming back to my friend, he realized that selling odd, rare, and eccentric products on eBay could actually become a part-time, home-based enterprise. Because, as it happened, he was also an avid collector of unusual objects - for example, ceramic figures and old comic books. He could slowly whittle down those collections, bringing in welcome cash during his retirement years… and having fun doing so.

He also realized he would never run out of things to sell, because he enjoyed browsing garage sales, consignment shops, and “antique” fairs. He was always finding something new.

I want to express how much I appreciate this club. It is exactly what I've been searching for for the past few years. Club member D. S. In other words, he had discovered a very pleasant way of generating extra income.

Could this work for you?

Selling ordinary items, such as kitchen utensils, isn't likely to be profitable. You will be competing with millions of other people selling similar things. But if you take my neighbour's approach and sell rare and unusual objects, you can do very well.

How EBay Works

EBay is an auction and shopping website. People buy and sell millions of items on it every day. The site offers auction-style listings and “Buy It Now” sales at fixed prices. Sellers can use the auction format, the “Buy It Now” format, or both.

Sellers list items for sale for a specified number of days (typically 7-10 days for auctions or longer for “Buy It Now” listings). A listing includes at least one photo of the item, as well as a written description. For the auctions, sellers can set a starting bid and a “reserve” price (the minimum they'll accept). However, many do not. I'll explain why later.

Interested buyers enter bids, and eBay automatically increases the amount needed to purchase an item until the listing “times out.” If the seller lists a “Buy It Now” price, a buyer can bypass the bidding and purchase the item instantly.

The seller contacts the winning bidder. Once payment is made - most sellers prefer PayPal - the seller ships the item. When eBay confirms delivery, funds from the sale become available in the seller's PayPal account. The seller can then transfer the money from PayPal into a bank account or into check or debit card form.

EBay makes its money by charging listing fees and taking a cut of sales proceeds. This is called a “final value fee.” It is usually 4-10% of the sale price.

Sellers are allowed up to 50 free listings per month. Higher-volume sellers who open eBay “Stores” also qualify for discounted listing fees and lower final value fees.

Who Uses EBay

More second-hand websites in India India's India's Craigslist EBay launched in 1995 as a sort of online flea market. It attracted just a few dozen sellers and a few thousand buyers for any particular type of product. Today, it is a huge international marketplace. More than 112 million people use it.

EBay users are typically in the 25-55 age bracket. They represent a wide range of people looking for bargains and/or hard-to-find items. There is an especially good market for dealers specializing in vintage items, antiques, and collectibles. But second-hand resellers, bulk sellers, artists, craftspeople, and designers also do well.

The Income Potential

It's possible to generate several hundred to several thousand rupees per month in your spare time. But if you're looking to run a full-fledged eBay-based business, the same logic applies to e-commerce as to a brick-and-mortar store.

You must define your market, then work hard to provide the best merchandise and customer service. And you need to distinguish yourself from the competition. There will be plenty.

That said, thousands of individuals have created thriving eBay businesses.

Linda Lightman began by selling her kids' used video games 10 years ago. From there, she moved into the luxury consignment business. She sold designer goods for clients looking to clear out expensive clothing from their closets.

Today, she has about $12 million in annual sales and employs 60 people. This breaks down to about 500 items shipped daily and 15,000 items sold per month.

Elizabeth Bennett is another eBay success story. She sells unique art and clothing from Africa through her business, Africa Direct. In 1998, she began listing carved masks and textiles on eBay. She was thrilled when she made $50 her first week.

Nearly 15 years later, the business has annual revenues of more than $1 million.

Bennett channels about half of that to African artisans and craftspeople.

How much money can you make? Much of it depends on two things: one, how much time you are willing to put into it; two, how smart you are about selecting and pricing your items.

Your Marketing Advantage

The secret of success on eBay is to specialize.

Pick a category that interests you, one with objects you can readily find at garage sales and consignment stores. Ideally, you want to specialize in something that you already know something about.

Make yourself an expert - not only on the objects themselves but also on their value. This is critical. Make it a rule to never buy something you can't sell for twice your purchase price.

How to Become an EBay Seller

To sell on eBay, you have to be a registered user. You'll also need to set up an account with one of eBay's approved Internet merchant credit cards -which means PayPal.

Before you launch yourself as a seller, it's important to establish yourself as a trustworthy eBay user. You can do this by racking up positive “feedback.” Buy five to 10 items using your PayPal account. Then sell a few things to get a feel for how the system works.

(The Indian eBay has a facility called PaisaPay, an avenue for buyers to make free and instant online payments through credit card or online bank transfer.)

You'll find that, like anything else, there is a learning curve. The greater your experience, the more knowledgeable and efficient you will be.

For the step-by-step process of listing and selling items, you'll find everything you need to know on the eBay website itself. This includes ways to increase your positive “feedback” and what it takes to be recognized as a “store.”

Selling Your Items for Big Profits

The key is to learn how to attract buyers by showcasing your products. The best way to do this is to research how successful sellers do it.

Say your uncle left you his collection of vintage metal tractor signs. If you go on eBay and search for “Vintage Metal Tractor Signs,” you'll likely see more than 100 active listings. Browse them, paying attention to how the sellers make their items sound interesting and unique.

Notice they are honest about the condition of their items. They point out damage and flaws. You don't want a buyer to be disappointed when he receives your item.

You don't want to give him any reason to give you negative feedback. You also don't want him to return it-which he is entitled to do if the item is “not as described.”

Pay attention to the often-used keywords that experienced sellers include in titles and descriptions. Those are words they know potential buyers are likely to use when doing a search.

Pay attention, too, to the photos the sellers provide. (EBay allows up to 12 free photos per item.) Experienced sellers provide many clear, vivid pictures of their items, taken from all angles. They also provide photos of any damage or flaws.

Something else to check out: On eBay, you have access to months' worth of data on completed sales. This reveals how much people paid for various products. You can also see which goods are most in demand.

Other helpful info is whether buyers seem to prefer the auction format or the “Buy It Now” option. And you can learn how sellers ship the signs.

When you post your first listing, you'll be tempted to set a reserve price. Most successful eBay sellers don't do this. Auctions with no reserve price tend to attract more bidders. And as long as you're offering a desired product in good condition, you should get plenty of bids.

Keep in mind every eBay buyer has a compelling reason for doing a search. It's usually to find a missing piece for a collection or to search for a good deal. By specializing in a niche category, you make it easy for serious buyers to find you.

Once they do, you tempt them to make a bid by providing plenty of information about your item. (Items with good descriptions always sell faster and for higher amounts.)

Example of an EBay Listing

Take a look at the following eBay listing. The seller who posted it did a pretty good job… but it could have been better.

Title: Vtg Original 1960's Lindsey Funk's 77-F Embossed Metal Sign Farm Barn Tractor Description: Up for sale is a vintage Lindsey Funk's G 77-F metal embossed sign. The sign measures 15 ½ inches tall and almost 9 ½ inches wide. I purchased the sign from a gentleman whose father sold

Funk's Hybrid Seeds. This one has minor rust along the side and in one corner. I don't think the sign has ever been used outside. The sign still has great graphics and vivid color. The back side does have a small amount of rust. It is a great sign, don't miss it!

First, look at the title. It includes some important keywords that potential buyers are likely to search: “vintage” (abbreviated as “vtg”), “original,” and “embossed,” as well as the company name. (Lindsey Funk was a seed company specializing in corn and sorghum hybrids.) Also, “farm,” “barn,” and “tractor.”

Now look at the description. Here, the seller does some things well. He provides all of the basic facts about size and condition. He mentions the rust on the sign. And he adds some interest to the listing by saying something about the sign's origin.

But a little more on the sign's history or the importance of the Lindsey Funk sorghum hybrid seeds would have made this description even better. A “story” can really help sell an item.

We Googled some descriptions on Indian second-hand websites and here's what we found on “TV stand with plywood coating 8 months old.”

Of course the picture shows you the product, but a lot is left to be desired on its actual use, quality and style. Thus, Mark's tips on writing more attractive and informative titles and descriptions can be used effectively in India too.

Creating a Business Plan

If you're thinking of making this more than a hobby, it's a good idea to have a business plan from the get-go. You're going to have to predict revenues and expenses, including eBay's fees and other taxes.

That will require some research.

For every item you might expect to sell, it's almost certainly been sold before on eBay. And, as I said, information on completed eBay sales is available. By doing your homework, you'll gauge the potential size of your market.

How many sales occurred within the past three months? On any given day, how many auctions were underway? What was the average final price on completed sales? Did most sales occur as auctions or as Buy It Now sales?

Thank you all for the great start and all the amazing and actionable content you give us in the Wealth Builders Club. Club member L. A. Maybe you'll decide to participate in eBay's “Stores” program. Even if you don't, you should think of your business as a store. What's your business'

How will you ship orders? What will you need for packing materials? What will shipping costs be?

Estimate the number of hours it will take to procure new items, research their values, take photographs, and write detailed listings. Estimate, too, the time you expect to spend on communicating with customers. (In this business - as with any business - customer service is paramount.)

You should build all of the above into your business plan.

What You Need to Know Before Getting Started

A few years ago, eBay decided it wanted to be more like Amazon. The shift in strategy meant new measures to increase consumer protection and customer service. Some of these new standards increased restrictions on sellers. Still, eBay can't be beat as an income opportunity.

Don't begin your eBay enterprise until you have a clear sense of how eBay works. It will take some time to master this marketplace, but the reward could be huge.

Make sure you understand eBay's feedback system. Buyers have substantial power to affect a seller's reputation-for good or bad. It pays to communicate with your buyers to ensure a smooth transaction with every sale.

When your new business starts to take off, research the many tools eBay offers to streamline your sales efforts. You can buy seller tools from outside sources that may have a few more features, but eBay offers you everything you truly need.

And they're free.

Surely, you have some “stuff” stashed away that's been gathering dust. Why not give those old treasures a chance to work for you on eBay? Dust them off, snap some pictures, pen some words, and list them.

Millions of people have cashed in on this unique marketplace. Why not you? If you have a computer, some cardboard boxes and packing tape, you're only keystrokes away from ready cash.

If making money by selling your old things on eBay sounds interesting to you, your next step is to learn more. You can take an online learning course from eBay itself. There will be a trainer to take you through the topics and to answer your queries. They hold live monthly trainings on various topics to help you sell better. Just check their link here.

Additionally, we at WBC have scoured the market for the top experts, programs, or books to further your knowledge on these opportunities.

And we've found just the expert, Neil Waterhouse. He wrote the book Million Dollar EBay Business From Home. Please remember that we receive no financial compensation for recommending this book.

Neil is the expert when it comes to making huge profits on eBay. He's an official eBay Million-Dollar Top Seller, as well as an eBay Invited Top Seller Speaker. He's able to give you valuable advice because he's been there and done it himself.

Million Dollar EBay Business From Home is the most helpful step-by-step guide on the subject. It details everything you need to know. For instance:

Which products return the highest profits How to hook shoppers How to stay ahead of your competition How to automate your business so you make money when you're not even there The traps to watch out for that catch many newcomers How to keep a high feedback rating The cheapest ways to ship your goods after sale.

The book includes much more than this. And best of all, there's a no-questions-asked 90-day guarantee. If you don't find Million Dollar EBay Business From Home to be as helpful as you'd like, simply ask for a refund. Neil will give you your money back without asking a single question and he'll even let you keep the book.

But I don't think you'll need to ask for a refund. Here is a sampling of feedback Neil has received from satisfied readers…

I cannot believe how exciting this is - in my first week I made $1,142! It has been six weeks, and I now make more money at home in one day than I used to make in a whole week working for someone else. What is even more amazing is I took your advice and started at Step 1 and have not had to spend any money at all! Neil, you are the best thing that has happened in my life! Robert S., Perth, Australia

Not knowing what I was doing, I was about to spend 3,000 pounds on an Internet business course but then stopped myself and read your book. Actually, I only skimmed it. Now, in less than two months, I am making more than 700 pounds from my part-time eBay business.

I'm now reading your entire book, and it is a masterpiece. You didn't ask for this endorsement, but I'm giving it anyway. Thank you for saving my butt. You're a genius. Malcolm P., North East Lincolnshire, England

If you have any interest in making money from eBay, this is your safe next step. Click here to learn more.

And start digging around in your storeroom, and your neighbourhood stores for valuable old relics that can launch your online business.

Best, Mark

Extra Income Opportunity #17: Surf the Web for Fun and Profit

Every month, I write NM a check for $1,200 (approx. Rs. 76,000). And her other clients write checks in varying amounts throughout the year.

What does NM do for me that I pay her over $12,000 per year? She is a freelance online researcher. In a nutshell, she does online research that her other clients and I are too busy to do for ourselves.

In my case, as a freelance copywriter, I constantly need research on the wide range of topics I am writing about - from molecular distillation of omega-3 fish oil, to the effects of methane as a greenhouse gas, to the advantages of investing in palladium instead of gold. Yes, I could do the research myself. But I hire a freelance online researcher to do my research instead, for three reasons.

First, I'm too busy to do it. Every minute I spend looking up stuff on Google is a minute I'm not writing copy and making progress toward my deadlines.

Second, it makes good economic sense for me to outsource Internet research, because my hourly rate is much higher than NM's.

Third, although I know how to do research - in fact, I'm quite good at it - NM is even better and faster. So I get superior quality research sooner.

And here's the thing: NM can take on only a limited number of clients, and she's already ultra-busy doing my research. So there is a crying need for freelance online researchers like her. That's good news for you. The demand is high. The work is interesting but not impossibly difficult. And the pay is quite attractive.

NM is a generalist, as many online researchers are; she'll dig for information on any topic you need.

Some other online researchers specialize. CP, for instance, focuses on doing research in the financial industry - a natural niche given her experience as a market researcher for Ernst & Young, and other financial services firms.

DN, another online researcher I met, specializes in health topics, primarily clinical studies for nutritional supplement companies.

Best-selling author Matthew Lesko has made a career researching information available for free from the government. He has written books on what he found, with an emphasis on grants and other free money from Uncle Sam.

Is Being a Freelance Online Researcher Right for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well the freelance online research business passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Doing online research is not rocket science. Yes, there are tricks to it. But the skill is not difficult to master. You will find many books and tips online that can help you learn the ropes fast enough.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

You do not need to rent an office; this is an ideal home business. You work with your clients by phone and email, and you never have to meet them in person. NM and I have met only once - when we attended the same marketing conference.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

You can take on as many clients and projects, and work as many or as few hours, as you want. Clients typically email their research requests to you. You deliver your research to clients via email. There are no meetings and minimal to no phone conversations.

Your hours are your own, as long as you deliver the research within the time frame the client needs it. This makes online researching especially attractive for those who prefer to set their own hours and availability.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs are low and there is almost no overhead. All you need is a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. You can set up your office in a spare bedroom or even work at the kitchen table. If you already have a computer, you can start this business for as little as Rs. 5,000… and slightly more should you choose to invest some resource material.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 3,000-10,000 per hour.

I have been quoted hourly rates by online researchers ranging from $25-50 (approx. Rs. 1,500-3,000) per hour, so you can, if you are good, make at least the low end of Mark's target hourly rate here. However, as a client, I have been able to get a lower rate by promising a certain volume of work to my researchers. So if a client has you on retainer for 10 hours of research per month, they may want a 10-20% discount off your regular hourly rate.

DN recommends to her clients that they give her a maximum amount of time to spend on any given research request. “I don't necessarily use all of that time,” she says. “In many cases, I may be given a 4- or 5-hour maximum and get all of the answers in an hour or so, and the client is billed only for time spent.”

Getting Started as an Online Researcher

The first step to making money as a freelance online researcher is to get really good at online research. Then, becoming proficient is only a matter of practice - the more online research you do, the better and faster you'll become.

Thank you for helping people like me. Your letters are very inspiring. I promise to read everything very carefully to do my best to learn. - Club member MQ. Sometimes, NM will tell me that she has put in a couple of hours on a research request and come up with nothing. She then asks if I want her to keep looking. Some research requests are easy and others more challenging. That's just the nature of the job. But you are paid for your time, not on results. For instance, if I ask NM to find a fact and after two hours she has come up with nothing, I still pay her for those two hours.

Of course, you must always do your best to find the information the client wants, and you must always keep accurate track of time spent. If you do not get results or your charges are extreme, the client will find another online researcher.

The second step in becoming an online researcher is to choose what markets you want to provide research services for. The need for research is wide. Publishers, corporations, small businesses, freelance copywriters, book authors, information marketers, and e-commerce businesses all have research needs.

AB, for example, specializes in doing research for copywriters, content writers, and editors. Her pitch is, “Let me do the research for you - and deliver it on a silver platter for you and your writers to use. I'll find credible and quotable sources to provide maximum proof for what you are writing about. Then you can focus on the one task that gives you the most value - writing.” Other writers, especially novelists and non-fiction book authors, also farm out online research.

“There are tens of thousands of small businesses across the globe that need quality research,” says AWAI Executive Director Katie Yeakle. “They need someone to surf the web and dig up all kinds of interesting facts, figures, statistics, studies, articles, and more.”

Large companies hire people to do “competitive research” - finding out what their competitors are doing, new products and applications they are developing, new technology they are innovating, and new markets they want to enter.

The third step is setting up your online research business. As with any other business, have an accountant and a lawyer available to advise you. Ask what business structure is best - sole proprietorship, partnership, or a limited liability company. Your accountant will set you up to make estimated quarterly tax payments.

You don't need to have a website for your online research business, though having one makes you look more professional. But even more important, a website optimized for the keyword phrase “freelance online researcher” will help potential clients find you when looking for a service provider online.

You can find an affordable freelancer to design your website on or When you are first starting out, your website will consist of just four pages: the home page, a page about your services, an “about” page with your bio and credentials, and a contact page with your phone number, email address, and any other methods of contacting you, such as an online form the visitor can submit to inquire about your services. As you complete projects, you can add two more pages: a list of clients, and testimonials from satisfied customers.

Getting Research Clients

The fourth step to starting and running a successful freelance online research business is marketing and promotion. As I just mentioned, having a website optimized for search engines is a good idea. This puts you ahead of the pack, since many online researchers, for some odd reason, do not have their own sites.

I see a lot of freelance researchers promoting their services by sending me emails asking if I would be interested in hiring them. They seem to have found me online, but I consider sending unsolicited advertising emails to be close to (if not actually) sending spam. Sending a cold email to a list of names you compiled yourself is a questionable practice.

If you want to use email legally and properly, send your email solicitation to a rented list of opt-in names.

Sending a printed sales letter or postcard to a list of prospects is also both legal and an accepted practice. So consider trying good old-fashioned direct mail for prospecting. To increase response to your direct mail promotion, include a reply card the prospect can mail back to learn more about your services. Also, include your website address. Offer a short, free report of Internet research tips as an incentive to reply.

There are also a number of “bidding” websites that post jobs for freelancers doing all sorts of work, including freelance online research. These include,,,,,, and A website like is an outsourcing service for companies, an important function that it includes is knowledge services like research.

The upside of going to these sites is that buyers with an immediate need post specific projects for you to bid on. When you market directly to business prospects as described earlier, you do not know whether they have a project or even if they outsource their research. With a freelance bidding site, you know the person on the other end outsources research and has a current need.

The downside of using these bidding websites is that the customers they attract are, for the most part, price-shoppers who buy the low bid. If you charge a fair rate, you may lose out to other freelancers willing to work for peanuts - often because they are in India (which is good for you!), the Philippines, or other places where wages and cost of living are low.

Then there are all the job networks out there where businesses are actively looking to hire researchers to surf the Web for them. Here is a sample of the way jobs are posted online.

jobs posted online Source:

The fifth step is closing the deal and doing the work. As a buyer of online research services, I can tell you that getting a client like me to hire you is not that difficult.

Some services, like freelance copywriting and website design, have a lot of competition and clients who are particular about whom they hire.

But if you come across as competent, intelligent, and confident that you can do the work, and your prices are competitive - somewhere between $25 and $50 (approx. Rs. 1,500-3,000) per hour - you will easily get hired as a freelance online researcher. And while the field is growing fast, it is not yet overcrowded: The demand for good Internet researchers currently outweighs the supply.

I have enjoyed reading your wealth-building ideas and have implemented many of them into my financial planning. - Club member LD. What typically happens is that some busy executive, entrepreneur, or freelance writer is under the gun to write a document. And not having the correct information to write with creates a bottleneck.

Under deadline pressure, they turn to Google, bidding sites, or colleagues for a referral to a researcher who can quickly, accurately, and reliably find the missing information. For this, they will pay a reasonable or even generous rate, even though - had they the time - they would able to do it on their own.

When you land one of these clients, there are a few key pieces of information you need to do the job properly. First, ask where the research will be used; in other words, what's being written? A white paper on wastewater treatment? A sales letter offering gold coins?

Second, ask the client if they have specific questions they need answered or particular pieces of information they need found. Sometimes the request will be general, e.g., find anything you can on preventing heart attacks. Other requests will be specific, e.g., find a clinical study that proves chelation therapy lowers the risk of adverse cardiovascular incidents in men over 40 with prior history of heart disease.

You can deliver your research results either in an email or an attached Word file; whichever your clients prefer. In addition to providing the answer or information requested, you must also include the source for the fact. That means both a proper citation and footnote - for instance, if it's a magazine article, the author, publication, article title, issue date, and page number - and the URL where you found it.

Sincerely, Bob Bly

Editor's Note: India has a glut of intelligent minds who have still explore the real potential of this opportunity. Acquiring knowledge is our forte as a race, we love to read and research, and we are good at doing initial spadework for a project. That's probably the reason why India is the back-office of the world.

And, like Bob Bly said, we are able to offer these services at competitive prices. It may be a good idea for you to explore this opportunity not only as an individual but to eventually even convert it into a business – hiring researchers similar to you and providing research on a range of topics.

Extra Income Opportunity #18: How to Make Rs 25,000 or More Per Week Designing Interiors

My friend SS convinced her father to let her remodel his office, which she thought was too plain and unimpressive.

The redecorated office was, classic and tasteful, with one traditional piece: a slightly worn out, metal-studded leather reading chair.

She thinks he will love it, but he ends up getting rid of all SS's furnishings and accessories and restored the office to its original condition.

“Didn't you like anything?” she says, disappointed.

“Yes, one thing,” he says, pointing to the leather armchair. “I love that.”

This story neatly encapsulates some pros and cons of the interior decorating business.

The pro is that it is creative work ideal for people who enjoy homes, design, furniture, art, and decorating. My wife is an interior decorator and she loves it for all these reasons. It is not just an opportunity to earn money - for many in the field it is an opportunity to follow their passion.

Hand in hand with that perk is the warm feeling of knowing you're helping people create their dream home. A place they love waking up to and living in every day - cozy, welcoming, and beautiful.

Another advantage of the interior decorating business is that your clients will usually, but not always, range from middle-class to upper-class homeowners. So they have the money to pay the rates interior decorators charge, which can range from modest to quite expensive.

The con is that when you do your job as an interior decorator, the advice you give is largely your own opinion, which your clients may or may not agree with in the end.

To become an interior decorator, you need to study home decorating as a discipline, just like I studied math, physics, and chemistry to get my degree in chemical engineering.

That said, you do not need a college degree to work either freelance or on staff as an interior decorator. But to be able to call yourself a legitimate interior decorator requires that you obtain a certificate for interior decorating from a local or vocational college.

Whether you take online or on-site courses, or self-study by reading books, you must learn the many principles of effective interior design.

But even if you do these things - and this gets back to the subjective nature of designing - there may still be a problem…

When You and the Client Disagree

The problem is that your clients, the homeowners who will hire you as an interior decorator, seldom have the same training as you do - and they often have what you might deem to be bad taste. This can create an unpleasant conflict when a decorator has to tell a client that his taste stinks and his requests for changes are unfounded.

Attitudes vary on how to push back on a client's opinion when you feel it is way off base. Some decorators stand their ground - but I wouldn't recommend this strategy when you're just starting out, as it's the surest way to lose clients… and fast. The best strategy is to explain (just once) why you did what you did. And if the client still likes his way better, then acquiesce pleasantly.

I want to thank you for this incredibly valuable report [on e-books (link)]! I had already started down this path of trying to figure out how to build income from e-books with some limited success. This report has filled in several critical missing gaps. - Subscriber K. J. There are two other minor cons I feel obliged to point out. The first is that interior decorating is a “nice to have” service but not a “must-have service.”

You need an auto mechanic to repair your car. You need a dentist to fill a cavity. You do not need an interior decorator to furnish and decorate your home. The service is optional, and the vast majority of homeowners do not use decorators.

The second minor con is that decorators often instruct their clients to buy home furnishings and accessories like couches, pillows, artwork, and accessories. In addition to furniture, art, and accessories, decorators also use paint and carpeting to achieve the desired look for a room.

Clients who approve items from looking at photos sometimes change their minds when the piece is delivered and they see it in person. Even though it comes from a store or other supplier, the decorator may take some heat, and the client looks to the decorator to resolve the problem.

Your Next Great Extra Income Opportunity

For an increasing number of women and men, the love of design is a calling, and the pros of decorating for money outweigh the cons. It is said that between 2008 and 2018, the amount of people entering the domain of interior design is set to increase from 19 to 20%, thus indicating the growth of the industry.

Most interior decorators don't get rich from their work. But with wealthy, high-end clients, the fees increase, and some decorators make an exceedingly handsome living.

In India, salaries can be dependent on the years of experience. Some freelancers earn less, and others earn much more. Assistant designers make anywhere between Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a month while senior designers collect a salary plus commissions and bonuses which add up to around Rs 80,000 to Rs 300,000.

However, work is on a project basis and to build credibility and a portfolio you should think about doing a couple of projects for little or no money. A large part of interior design is networking. If you do a good job on your first couple of projects, word will get around and finding projects to work on will get much easier. Therefore, it may take time to build a reputation.

So… is interior decorating the right extra income opportunity for you?

As I always like to remind our subscribers, when Mark began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed to determine the specific criteria each and every opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria to see how well interior decorating passes our litmus test. One thing to note: the terms “interior designer” and “interior decorator” are often used interchangeably. But as I noted earlier, there's a difference:

Interior decorators focus on presentation, furniture, and colour within rooms. Interior designers do that, as well. But they may recommend structural redesign such as knocking out walls to make rooms bigger. Here's how both trades stack up against our criteria:

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

A key requirement for being an interior decorator is to have good taste and design sense. If you possess that attribute, interior decorating might be a natural way for you to earn extra income. Courses on interior design are available at local institutes, vocational colleges and online educational platforms.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

Most interior decorators my wife and I know have home offices. But some work out of rented offices to create a more professional image. The actual work, of course, is done in the client's house.

Almost all of your clients will be local, but not necessarily right in your neighbourhood. Most decorators we spoke to look for clients who are within a 90-minute drive of their home offices.

So if you have a lot of clients and projects, you may be on the road a lot. Some decorators targeting higher-end clients and aspiring to earn higher incomes feel they need a presence outside the home to establish the right image of success and professionalism.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

This is true of interior decorators, to a degree. You can tell the client when you are available and - within reason - set your own schedule and hours. But you also have to respect and accommodate the client's schedule. If the client works and can only meet you in the evenings, that's what you have to do.

Interior decorating can be competitive, so to close more sales, you must answer phone and email inquiries promptly. Interior decorator MK says he answers the phone from 7:30 a.m. until sometimes 10:00 p.m.

Interior decorator AS, like so many of us, carries her smartphone with her 24/7. She checks it before, during, and after business hours. And if there's an email, text, or call from a client or prospect, she will most often respond immediately or, if not, first thing the next morning.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs for interior decorating are minimal. You can launch your decorating business with nothing more than a phone, a desk, and a few business cards. The biggest cost is the courses, if you choose to do them, which could set you back a few thousand rupees.

A website is optional but recommended. Today you can put one up for only a few thousand rupees. And it will almost surely pay back its cost many times over in just your first year of business.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 2-10,000 per hour.

Some interior decorators charge by the hour, and others charge by the room or the house.

While most interior decorators quote on an hourly basis, some charge flat fees based on the scope of the project plus a percentage - typically 10-20% - of the total cost of the furniture, fittings, and fabric.

Most interior decorators have a symbiotic relationship with the handful of home stores in their area that work with “the trade.” When the decorator sends her clients to that store, she is paid a commission - ranging from 10-50% - on the furniture purchase. These stores will send you a commission while allowing the client to pay them directly, eliminating you as the middleman, so you do not need capital to fund client purchases.

Top interior decorator BB bases her fees on a percentage of her client's total purchases for the project. And in a recent year, she supervised Rs 25 lac in work involving three major projects and four or five smaller jobs.

A lot of decorators split their commissions with their clients. This gives the client an incentive to buy at the decorator's partner store, which pays commission to decorators, instead of going to a store that does not pay commission to the decorator.

MJ, spends about 50% of her time on decorating projects and 50% on home staging , which often involves furnishing and decorating vacant homes that are for sale. For home staging, she occasionally uses an assistant - usually her husband - to lug in the accessories and help her hang the art, but she mostly handles the smaller projects on her own.

With some of our extra income opportunities, you may find the same prejudice against grey hair that you find in the corporate world, which increasingly does not want to hire workers over 50. But there is little or no ageism in the interior decorating profession. AS got started in her 50s. ES started her interior design business at age 60 and kept at it until she decided to retire at age 72.

How to Get Clients

How do you market interior decorating services? AS says, “We all find clients differently - websites, talks at local events, social media, networking, and referrals.” Many long-time decorators now get work only through referrals, while beginners take advantage of the many marketing channels available to see what works best for them.

Build your clientele through referrals from real estate agents, architects, interior decorators, and happy clients.

In the digital era, a website is often the cornerstone of any small business's marketing. Two things are useful for your interior decorating/staging website…

First, have as many photos of rooms you have designed as you can. Keep hard copies, as well as online copies of an official portfolio so you can quickly show it off to a potential client.

Second, optimize your website for local search. For instance, if you live in Mumbai optimize for the term “interior decorator in Mumbai” When clients are happy with your work, ask for a testimonial and permission to post it on your site.

Interior decorator MK's first step when launching his business in 2010 was to build a website aimed at the younger clientele he wanted to work for. He says his site quickly resulted in contracts for decorating the interiors of three flats. He also got inquiries for decorating office spaces, new homes, sample flats in new buildings, and remodelling projects.

An often-suggested marketing tactic is to write articles on your area of expertise, in this case home decorating and interior design. My wife published such an article in the local paper. It generated two phone calls but no actual assignments.

Also check out our guide: Blogging Basics for Beginners

The Next Steps

If you've read this far, you probably have the “decorating bug” and love all things involving decorating, design, homes, and colour. And that's a start. If you don't yet have the “bug,” you could still develop an interest. But most who do interior decorating have a passion and aptitude for design before getting into it.

Unless you already have a certificate for interior decorating, find a local institute or vocational college offering courses in interior decorating and that have certificate programs. You're likely going to need some sort of certificate or license to get the designer discounts from suppliers, if that's something you want to be able to offer to clients.

Interior design requires a bachelor's degree from a four-year college. A master's degree is optional and those proficient in CAD are potentially paid more than those who aren't. But in the interest of full disclosure, we must reveal that some interior decorators render their services without having much, if any, formal training, let alone credentials.

Typically, they become known in their circles for having good taste. Someone asks for interior decorating help and offers to pay them. They accept. And then they're off to the races. But the smart ones then go for the training and the credentials.

You can do that as well, or go the other way. Get the education, get the training, get the certification, and then launch your interior decorating business.

Here are a few interior design blogs which we think will help get those creative juices flowing -

Rang Decor An Indian Summer Rajee Sood Celebrations Decor Sajavat

Best, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #19: Make Rs. 600,000+ per Year Helping Businesses Market With Social Media

There are 1.4 million users on Facebook. 347 million on LinkedIn, 300 million on Instagram, and 288 million on Twitter. And every year, a new platform breaks onto the scene and draws millions more.

So, whether you love social media or loathe it, one thing is certain: It's a sign of the times.

And it's not only individuals who are using it. American businesses are using the platforms to reach their consumers in new and inventive ways.

In 2014, these businesses spent $7.3 billion on social media marketing. Forrester Research predicts that number will rise to $16.2 billion in 2019.

In India too, social media is becoming an important aspect of most advertising and marketing strategies for individual and corporate brands. It's no longer a trend, its becoming necessity for the survival of most brands.

An article by PRNewsWire says: Social media advertising spend in India stood at US$0.1 billion by end of 2014, accounting for 15.6% of total online advertising.

The problem is: Most business owners, busy with their core activities, don't have the time, inclination, or skills to keep up with the fast-changing world of social media. They may have built their businesses using traditional advertising and simply may not understand how to translate their marketing plan to today's platforms.

The solution? They outsource their social media work to outside managers or consultants. And that creates a tremendous opportunity for individuals to provide social media services.

According to marketing expert MaryEllen Tribby, the demand for social media skills is hot, and more than 91% of businesses are looking for someone to help them manage their social media. In fact, all you need to do is run a quick job search in Monster for “social media,” and you'll see how many thousands of listings come up!

And not only is the work plentiful; it's also lucrative.

Kate Buck Jr., a top social media manager, makes over $100,000 (approx. Rs. 60 lac) per year. She now has a second lucrative business training other people to be independent social media managers.

ZC became an independent social media manager after taking Kate's training. Within three months, he was making over $5,000 (approx Rs. 3 lac) per month.

In India, the figures may not be so high, but the work is plenty. And if executed strategically can easily bring in Rs. 30,000 - 50,000 per month.

Kajal, a solopreneur specialising in social media, has 3-4 clients on retainership every month. Between blogging, providing social media strategies and implementing it, she earns atleast Rs. 20,000 from each client per month.

And she started similarly, trying one client at a time in the spare time she got after a job.

Let's look more closely at this burgeoning field and see what it has to offer.

The Expanding Landscape of Social Media

Facebook allows users to share opinions, photos, life events and more with other users within their network of contacts. Businesses can build pages for users to keep track of events, discounts, and more.

With a Twitter profile, you can create quick, public updates of 140 characters or less. Anyone on the platform can view your updates and communicate with you.

Pinterest is an image-based platform. Users create “boards” which they share with other users. These act like collections of thoughts and ideas. The platform is especially popular for cooking, fashion, and crafting.

Instagram is a photo-sharing site that allows users to publish photos publicly or privately. Users can create hashtags to alert other users to their content.

YouTube is a video-sharing platform owned by Google. By creating a quick Google account, users can upload videos, create channels, follow other users, and comment.

Flickr is a photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo. With a simple Yahoo address, users can upload photos to share with other users. The site also has extensive digital collections from museums and archives.

Tumblr is a blogging platform owned by Yahoo. Unlike other blogging sites, Tumblr is image-centric. Users can easily re-blog content to their feeds to share with others.

Vine, owned by Twitter, is a video platform for sharing mini 6-second video clips. Six seconds might not sound like much, but users and brands have created surprisingly compelling content.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform for sharing resumes, ideas, job announcements, and more. The site is an important tool for both individuals and brands looking to promote themselves.

So, What Is “Social Media”?

In traditional media, the networks and publishers distribute content to their audiences. That content is absorbed by the individual on a range of platforms such as television, radio, magazines, or websites. These individuals may talk about the content with friends or family, but by and large, they experience it alone.

Social media platforms changed all this. Instead of relying on, say, NBC to bring a new television series to their living room, individuals could broadcast their own content. They could star in their own TV shows, post their own photos, and build their own networks of groupies.

They could also curate their own content, picking and choosing from an infinite array of media.

The traditional media landscape had officially disintegrated.

At first, advertisers didn't know quite what to do. For decades, they had relied on traditional media to promote brands to the masses. Now, they were attending panicked conferences to discuss how to yank back their control.

But a few brands realized they could use social media to their advantage. Rather than fear the new media, they used it as a tool for reaching out to their customers on a more honest and personable level.

Today, the term “social media” refers to a range of media technologies including blogs, business networks, enterprise social networks, forums, microblogs, photo sharing, product/service review forums, social bookmarking, social gaming, social networks, video sharing, and virtual worlds.

The communities within each of these platforms have shifted the power and influence in online commerce from the marketers to the users. For example, in a recent episode of the TV show Bar Rescue, Jon Taffer told a bar owner reviews from the three top bar bloggers in his region could make or break his business.

Similarly a restaurant owner in India, Priyank Sukhija adds, “The online mechanism is quite powerful, but instead of fearing it, we try to use it to our advantage. Appreciation and criticism both go hand in hand. Going online is right now the strongest way to get your voice heard.” (Source: The Times of India)

And when a website would not allow me to return a defective item for refund, I criticized the company on my blog. Within 10 minutes, I got an email from the CEO saying he would send me a replacement item for free if I removed the negative post from my blog. Prior to social media, consumers didn't have that kind of power.

What's a #Hashtag?

On most social media sites, users use “hashtags” to attract visitors to their publicly available content and to contribute to trending topics.

When publishing a post, simply add a hashtag symbol (#) with a keyword. For example, if you publish a photo of the new cookie at Sweetish House Mafia, you might write a nice description of their mouth-watering chocolate chips. Then you can add the following to the post: #chocolate chip, #cookies, #SHM.

Other cookie fanatics might be searching the network for some of these terms. Though they may not know Sweetish House Mafia, they can now discover your post. They may even “like” it or start following you.

You can be inventive with your hashtags to stand out from the noise. You'll be surprised that even quirkier hashtags find plenty of followers. For example, these hashtags all have more than 50,000 posts on Instagram right now: #notavegetarian, #dietstartstomorrow, #fingerlickingood.

And every day, new hashtags are “trending” across the Internet. That means people are using certain hashtags to contribute to a larger conversation across the Web. For example, in January 2015, activists around the world used the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie to create a global movement against terrorism.

On most platforms, you can see which hashtags are currently trending. You can pick up followers by using these trends to your advantage and communicating with other users. Remember: The key to social media is that it is social. In other words, it pays to communicate with people about the issues that matter most to them.

Why Being a Freelance Social Media Manager Is a Great Extra Income Opportunity

So… are you cut out to be a social media manager?

As I always like to remind our subscribers, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months to determine the specific criteria each and every opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria to see if the social media manager opportunity passes our litmus test.

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Even if you don't know the difference between a pin and a tweet, you can still become a successful independent social media manager.

Through some diligent self-study, you can master the skills you need. You don't need a college degree or even a certification.

In fact, most people who manage corporate social media accounts have taught themselves the skills all on their own.

One great source for information and education is The Social Media Examiner, billed as the largest online magazine covering social media. It provides excellent tutorials and research.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

As a social media manager, you do not have to travel to clients' offices or meet with them in person. However, if a business is located close to your home, the client may prefer that you do so.

As long as you have a PC with a high-speed Internet connection and a telephone, you can do your job as an independent social media manager without leaving your house.

When clients trust you enough to give you their passwords to their social media accounts, you can add content and make posts for them from your own office; no need to necessarily go to theirs. This means you can work for clients in other states or even other countries.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends.

“You can start part time [in social media consulting] so you don't have to quit your day job,” says Tribby. “If you do quit your day job, you can quickly grow to full-time earnings with part-time hours.”

Theoretically, a stay-at-home mom or dad could offer social media services for only a few hours per week to earn an extra income, working with maybe only one or two small clients. But managing social media for a larger company that is active on multiple social networks will require a bigger time commitment.

The degree of difficulty also has a bearing on how much time you must spend on the account. If the client just wants a couple of 300-word blog posts every week, you can knock these out and post them in an hour or two. Other assignments, like building a YouTube channel for a company from scratch, could be bigger projects.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

Nearly all social media platforms are free. This means it's easy to sign up and tinker with them in order to hone your skills. When you get ready to reach out to clients, you can do so for very little startup capital.

In fact, ZC says he started his social media business with zero initial capital investment. Again, if you already have a computer with a broadband Internet connection, you're basically in business!

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 1,500-5,000 per hour.

Some people view social media as an arcane skill mastered only by a select few. Others think social media is something anyone can do.

As a result, fees paid to independent social media managers are all over the lot, ranging from Rs. 1,500 per hour on the low end to Rs. 5,000 per hour on the high end. According to the Content Factory, a social media freelancer can earn Rs. 3-5 lac per year, depending on the hourly rate and the number of hours worked per week.

And here's a bonus: While some fields are becoming overcrowded, social media management is only expanding. New social networks pop up almost monthly, and few people really understand how to get results with them. One social media consultant can be an expert in Facebook, while another specializes in Pinterest and Instagram. You can create your own niche.

One social media consultant I met does just one thing: get her clients more followers on Twitter. Another gets his clients more first-level connections on LinkedIn. A third does nothing except write LinkedIn profile pages.

By dedicating yourself to mastering social media, you gain a highly marketable skill that can easily earn you a six-figure income. Importantly, you don't need to master the whole of social media to break the Rs. 6 lac per year mark.

What Do Social Media Managers Do?

There are several reasons why clients hire social media consultants. If a businessperson does not know much about social media and does not have the time to figure it out on her own, she may hire a social media consultant to get her social media campaign going.

“Social media is intimidating,” says Socially Smitten, a social media marketing agency. “It is vast and unknown and way too complicated for its own good.” As a result, businesses feel uneasy about doing it themselves and hire social media managers to do it for them.

Social media managers perform a wide range of tasks. For example, they help companies get more Facebook friends and likes, more Twitter followers, or more LinkedIn connections.

Depending on the needs of the client, they could be responsible for both creating content and promoting content. Here are some of the things they may need to do:

Educate the client on social media and using social networks in marketing. Design and write visually appealing and mentally stimulating content for business pages. Help the client identify and reach their audience. Create a strategic social media marketing plan including a posting schedule. Post and comment regularly. Monitor social media traffic to determine what is working and what needs to be changed. Tailor content for different platforms (e.g., Twitter vs. Facebook). Communicate with the online audience in a friendly and diplomatic manner.

WM, an Internet marketing consultant, focuses on both boosted posts as well as advertising on Facebook. Some of her ads are designed to build e-lists, while others sell products directly.

LR offers what she calls “scalable social media consulting.” Instead of working with clients one on one, she makes instructional videos that her clients can watch to learn what to do in social media. She now provides, through the online videos, social media help for thousands of people around the globe.

JB is ranked No. 8 on Forbes' list of the World's Top 40 Social Marketing Talent. His blog receives over 5 million page views per year and is read in over 200 countries. He has more than 320,000 Twitter followers.

NS is another recognized leader in business social media. He has been recognized as a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer. His clients range from small startups and solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies.

In India, Harsh Agrawal who has been featured in the Startup eSeries, is among the Top 3 bloggers. His informative, extensively researched and entertaining style of writing appeals to many, He specialises in technology and has become an online 'guru' of sorts.

Likewise you'll find a list of Indian social media management companies who have become increasingly popular in their cities, bagging clients as big as Airtel, Kellogs, Tata Motors, Shoppers Stop etc. Check out this link to read more.

How to Be a Media Maven

You don't have to be a professional photographer or a graphic designer to succeed at producing social media content. In fact, most social media content is produced using cellphone cameras and easy online tools.

Instead of worrying about the quality of images, focus more on their substance. Are they interesting or thought provoking in some way? Will they generate positive discussion?

Some sites like Instagram even allow you to use fun and forgiving filters that can make a mediocre photo really pop.

In addition, online tools like Canva can help you create visually appealing ads, posts, memes, and more. For example, check out this easy ad we made in just under two minutes:

jobs posted online Many social media consultants often promise what I call “soft results.” For example, they guarantee more views of a client's LinkedIn profile, more Twitter followers, or more blog subscribers. They don't, however, promise specific numbers of new prospects or clients, or volumes of sales.

Social Media Examiner suggests social media ROI can be measured in a number of ways. These include customer acquisition, lead generation, clicks, revenue, contest entries, online purchases, filled-out contact forms, newsletter sign-ups, PDF downloads, social interactions, video views, and more.

Social media consultants also use a range of inexpensive online tools to analyze these metrics with impressive sophistication. You can learn more about these programs here.

How to Acquire Clients

How do you get companies to hire you to manage their social media marketing?

To begin with, if you want to promote your ability to get your clients more friends, followers, and connections on social networks, start by building your own. If you tell a client you can get him hundreds of new first-level connections on LinkedIn, and he sees you have only 25 yourself, your credibility is totally shot.

If, however, a client sees you have 500 connections on LinkedIn and 3,000 Twitter followers, for example, he or she will immediately understand your value.

It goes without saying the content on your personal profiles should be professional and positive. While these may indeed be your “personal” sites, you need to remember you are selling yourself as a brand. So, refrain from controversial views, vulgar jokes, or inappropriate rage!

In addition to building your own online profiles, you should also build a portfolio of content you can share with clients. Explain to clients how you have used this content to drive likes, shares, and impressions on various social networks.

(If you're going after your first client and don't have any of this kind of data yet, simply create mock-ups for well-known brands. You can then show your client your ideas for how you would promote, say, McDonald's if you were in charge of its online presence.)

Here are some other tips for how you can acquire clients:

CD advises going to the small businesses in your area you patronize, such as your dentist or accountant. Ask them what their social media strategies are. Many will say they don't have one. That opens the door for you to pitch them on your social media management services.

Or, if they have an existing online strategy but you think it needs some work, you can pitch yourself as the person who can fix it. For example, a lot of excellent restaurants receive terrible reviews on Yelp and Facebook. You can bill yourself as the person who will repair a damaged online presence.

Another strategist, DP, targets potential clients by industry rather than geography. He advises specializing in one particular industry. When you get your first client in that industry, pull out all the stops to make them successful. Then ask them for a video testimonial.

Armed with that video testimonial, go to other companies in the same industry. “When they see the amazing testimonial, they will jump at the opportunity to work with you.” But an important warning: Do not work for companies that are direct competitors with your client in that industry.

Many social media managers go into too much detail about the mechanics of the various social networks when meeting with potential clients. AN says this is a mistake.

“Always focus on the benefits, not the mechanics, when you speak to business owners,” AN says. “What they want is more sales and higher profits. A business owner will pay more for a way to stay in touch with their customers than for a website or fan page.”

Other services you can offer as a social media manager include:

Creating and managing a company page on LinkedIn. Building and managing Twitter accounts. Monitoring your clients' online reputations. Starting to use Pinterest and Instagram. Creating a check-in special on FourSquare. Submitting the client's website to local business directories like Justdial.

What Works in Social Media

In his book Smart Social Media, Lasse Rouhiainen writes that the main element for a successful Facebook page “is publishing interesting, educational, and entertaining content.”

Most companies already have a lot of content that can be repurposed for Facebook and other social media sites. For example, white papers, articles, blog posts, email newsletters, website FAQs, press releases, and videos can all be interesting for audiences.

However, it's important to remember, as a social media manager, you need to think about what kind of content will be most interesting to your audience. Social media is social, which means, like all social experiences, it's at its best when it is authentic and candid.

So, for example, rather than publish a photo of a slick CEO in the perfect corporate pose, it can be much more beneficial to publish a photo of that CEO stuffing herself with some mithai at the company Diwali party.

After Facebook, Rouhiainen ranks YouTube as the second most effective social media site. He notes that online videos are 53 times more likely to get a first-page Google ranking than a text page - not surprising considering Google owns YouTube.

To get started on YouTube, Rouhiainen recommends that you begin with short videos lasting no longer than two minutes. “Consumers have short attention spans,” he says. “Often, they will not watch longer YouTube videos to the end.” In fact, the odds of even 1,000 people watching your YouTube video in a month's time are only 3%.

A Few Rules for Social Media

Just as you've made mistakes at your friend's cocktail party, you will make mistakes in social media. It happens to everyone.

For example, when Ray Rice made national headlines by pummeling his fiancée in 2014, DiGiorno's Pizza sent out a message on Twitter that implied domestic abuse victims should stay with their partners to get pizza!

In India, we saw the outrage against Bolywood star Salman Khan's politically incorrect tweets defending Yakub Memon, the death row convict of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. His tweets got him so much flak that it almost jeopardised the success of his latest film Bajrangi Bhaijan and had many on social media insinuating that he was a terrorist too. Salman then had to apologise and do what he could to salvage his online reputation.

Most social media snafus blow over within a few days (or hours), but some can cause serious damage to a brand's identity. And many social media managers have been fired for their mistakes.

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Understand anything uploaded online exists forever (or close to forever) on the Web. Even when posts are deleted, they remain in Google's cache and can be easily retrieved by people who want to give you a bad day.

Avoid using curse words or derogatory phrases.

Never reveal confidential or proprietary information about your clients.

Share your name and email, but avoid sharing your address or phone number.

Discuss with your client whether to use “I” or “we” when posting. Most clients will prefer that you use “I” because if you post anything inappropriate, they can easily clean their hands!

Be sure to give credit if you use a quote, photo, or other content. The Web is full of copyright poachers, and the practice is highly frowned upon.

Remember, anonymity is rarely guaranteed on the Web. If you post something inflammatory under a pseudonym, hackers can often find a way to uncover your identity.

If you feel any doubt about a post, avoid it.

Remember, connotations can easily be misconstrued in writing. Avoid sarcasm at all costs.

Avoid using a brand's profile to comment on sensitive political issues or holidays.

Understand the connotation of a hashtag before using it. If used wrongly, the meaning of your words could be misconstrued.

And finally, never post when you've been drinking! Even one glass can make you say things you'll regret.

If you do make a mistake, recognize it and apologize immediately. As we've all seen too many times, a half-baked apology will only prolong your torment. Get it over with quickly by saying, “I was wrong, I am sorry, and here's why you're right to be upset.”

The Next Steps

Working as a social media manager is a good income opportunity for five main reasons:

First, social media marketing is exploding. So you are entering a growth market and capitalizing on a very hot trend.

Second, social media is important to many businesses. Even if they don't do much in social media now, they feel under pressure to be more active in social media. So the demand for assistance implementing social media marketing campaigns is high.

Third, a large number of businesses find social media complicated, do not understand how to use it, and don't have the time or inclination to learn. They'd rather hire you to do it for them.

Fourth, while there is a lot to learn, you can master social media through self-study and practice. You do not need a college degree, certification, or license to offer your services as a social media manager.

And fifth, the social media manager is one of the highest-paying income opportunities we have profiled in the Extra Income Project. Making a six-figure income within a year or less of starting your social media consultancy can happen, and people have done it. Maybe you can, too.

Sincerely, Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #20: Get Paid to Point Out Spelling Errors

H.G. Wells once said, “No compulsion in the world is stronger than the urge to edit someone else's document.”

If editing copy is the greatest human urge, then the compulsion to point out spelling errors and other typos is a close second.

I am constantly bombarded with emails from eager readers who take unbridled joy in pointing out a typo they have found in one of my hundreds of websites, articles, books, or newsletters.

Do you love correcting people's misspellings and bad grammar? If so, why not turn your passion into profit - by hiring yourself out as a professional proofreader?

You can satisfy your fervent desire to point out the mistakes others make in their written communication. And you can collect a respectable hourly wage doing so.

Is the Proofreading Business for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well the proofreading business passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Proofreading is not especially difficult. You need to be a good speller and have a command of standard written English.

You also need to have patience and a good eye for detail - the ability to pick out something amiss, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant. I am a good speller and writer, but I could not be a professional proofreader: I am not a nitpicker. And, I find proofreading boring.

But if you do not… and you actually enjoy poring over documents, looking for mistakes… proofreading may be a good part-time or even full-time business for you.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

You do not need to rent an office. This is an ideal home business.

Most clients are happy to send you the documents as attached files via email; a few want their proofreaders on site. But there are more than enough of the former to keep you busy all week long, so you can work at home and commute to a client's office seldom or even never - it's your call.

In point of fact, proofreading is actually better suited to a solitary home office than a cubicle in a corporation. It requires a level of continuous, focused concentration that few other tasks demand, and silence is almost mandatory for its performance.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

With proofreading, the answer is yes to both. You can start with just a few small jobs, then take on as many or as few additional projects as you like. Proofreading can be a pleasant, easy way to make some extra cash in your spare time or a route for escaping the corporate rat race.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs are low indeed. You need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, plus a couple of good dictionaries and some other reference guides.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 1,500-5,000 per hour.

Proofreading won't pay you Rs 5,000 per hour. But proofreaders can earn anywhere from Rs 1,000-2,000 per hour, though most jobs are in the Rs. 1,000-Rs. 1,500 per hour range. The high end is reserved almost exclusively for legal and medical proofreading.

Getting Started in the Proofreading Business

The requirements for being a proofreader are few and far between; there is virtually no barrier to entry.

Yet the field is not grossly competitive. Yes, there are proofreaders available to me if I go out and look for them. But I am not bombarded by pitches for proofreaders, as I am by website designers and other services.

Please know that the work you've done for us is extremely appreciated and like many others before me have commented, it feels like I've been looking for you and your organisation for my whole life. Thank you very, very much. - Club member T. C. The reason, I suspect, is that most people find proofreading an unwholesome mental chore to be avoided at any cost. So though many people could do it, very few want to. That's good news for you, whether you're proofreading just for the money or you actually enjoy it.

“Particular to proofreading is that you can't usually do it with other people around, as it's really concentrated work,” says Liz Broomfield, an experienced proofreader and editor. She notes that proofreading can be repetitive if you're working on one huge text or lots of material on the same subject.

She says proofreaders must have a high attention span and a very high boredom threshold, though she adds, “I'm not saying the work is boring. I love it. But some people would be bored silly by it.”

While not a highly specialized skill, there are ways to prepare for a career in proofreading. An article on suggests high school courses in English, journalism, and literature; for medical proofreaders, I would add biology and chemistry. Doing crossword puzzles is good training because it gives you familiarity with many words and their meanings.

I've already described the bare-bones basics you need to be a professional proofreader: a computer and high-speed Internet connection. You'll also need Word (most of your clients write in Word) with Microsoft Office Suite (so you can proof PowerPoint, though not a lot of clients ask for that), a fax machine (for clients who want you to proof hard copy only documents, which is rare but does happen), and a good dictionary.

There are a lot of dictionaries on the market and all can serve you well. Merriam-Webster is highly thought of, as is Webster's New World College Dictionary. I have the massive two-volume unabridged Oxford Dictionary - not the condensed version - and believe it is the best and most complete dictionary available. You can also consult online versions of most dictionaries.

Some clients may want you to follow one of the standard style manuals, usually the Associated Press Stylebook. These stylebooks will tell you which system to follow and how to retain consistency throughout the document. For example, numbers one through nine are spelled out, while numbers 10 and up are written in numerical form. There are dozens of rules.

This leads me to a quick pointer: On your first job as a proofreader, make sure you are well aware of the publication's style guides and rules. No editor wants to have to reproof a proofreader's work, not because it's wrong, but because it doesn't adhere to their style guidelines. And with unforgiving editors, that's the quickest way of not getting repeat business… next to proofreading errors.

A Roget's Thesaurus should also be part of your proofreader's reference shelf. You may find editors occasionally repeat the same word multiple times across a single paragraph or two. You'll want to be sure to catch those, and your editor will be grateful if you substitute another word choice.

You also need the basics used by anyone in a small professional services business. These include a phone, letterhead, business cards, and today, a website. You can get away with not having a website, but in my humble opinion, it is a mistake not to have one.

Reason: Many people looking for a proofreader will Google “proofreader.” If you do not have a site optimized for that term, they won't find you.

Does it go without saying that a proofreader's website must be 100% free of typos? Even one will instantly disqualify you.

The Wrong Way to Get Proofreading Clients

I have dozens of websites with hundreds of Web pages, and I have also written almost seven dozen published books. Therefore, proofreaders see me as a potential client and do approach me from time to time. And all of them do it the wrong way.

What they do is write often-snarky emails telling me about a typo they found in one of my books or websites, insinuating that I am inept at proofreading and that I should hire them immediately. I have never hired a person taking this approach and never would. My business colleagues say they would not either.

What these proofreaders do not understand about my websites is that those typos are there not because we cannot proofread, but because proofing every page on every site is low on our priority scale.

What they do not understand about my books is that I do not proofread the galleys; a proofreader at the publishing house does that, and I have no control over it.

Also, my average book is 250 pages, which is 100,000 words. If a proofreader is outraged that she finds one typo in 100,000 words, she is not living in the real world.

What I have learned from all these unsolicited criticisms, though, is that there is a subset of people who absolutely love finding mistakes in writing and pointing them out to the writer or publisher. If you share this love, then you might find proofreading is the most fun you can have in this world!

Mastering the Skill

While one typo in a 250-page book is forgivable though not desirable, one typo in a 10-page document is not. As a proofreader, you are forgiven less for mistakes than almost any other profession. So to get repeat business and referrals, you have to be meticulous at your craft and strive for as close to 100% accuracy as you can.

Become familiar with the standard proofreading marks here.

In addition, as I mentioned earlier, some publishers and corporate clients have specific style guides that you must follow when correcting their documents. Remember: If a client uses a particular style guide, whether an off-the-shelf reference or their own in-house guide, your corrections must make the copy conform to their preferred style.

One of the best things I like about your club is the easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions including links on where to get formal training if you need it! Nicely done, keep up the excellent work. - Club member K. K. As a writer, I like to proofread and correct my documents on the screen. But freelance editor Barbara Every says she prefers to print and proof hard copies.

“Print out the proofs,” she instructs. “Even if you are making a PDF file electronically, work with a printout first. Errors that are missed on screen often 'jump out' on paper.”

Every suggests working with a printout of the manuscript, the publisher's instructions or style guide, a ruler, and a coloured pen (I prefer a red or blue pencil). If you find it preferable to edit on your computer, use Word's “Track Changes” and “Comment” features. Click here for a video tutorial on how to use this excellent tool.

Proofreading is a business of details. You do not just proof the text. You must also proof all tables, illustrations, charts, and footnotes. Make sure the graphs and tables are in the right place and that the titles, captions, and figure numbers are correct. Double-check scientific notations, symbols, and especially equations.

The top proofreaders have a secret: They proofread the document twice. Says Every, “A surprising number of errors can be found in the second round.” If you do proofread twice, wait 24 hours after the first proofing before doing the second proofing. If you are not fresh, you risk missing mistakes.”

Attention to detail is critical, says Every: “Read each word of text, each sentence, and each paragraph slowly and carefully. Place a ruler under each sentence as you work, or cover all of the text but the sentence you are proofreading with a blank piece of paper.”

Some Right Ways to Get Started as a Proofreader

Proofreading, like most professional services, does not “sell itself.” You must go out and market yourself to get clients and assignments.

The first step is to identify your niche or target market. The two highest-paying proofreading specialties are legal and medical.

For legal editing, your potential clients are law firms and legal publishers. For medical proofing, it could be hospitals, medical schools, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and medical research facilities. Most proofreaders in these specialties have some background in law or medicine; for instance, medical proofreaders may have a B.S. or even M.S. in microbiology or biochemistry.

Book and magazine publishers have a need for proofreaders, and an even larger market today is e-commerce companies: Some large retail or business-to-business websites have hundreds or even thousands of pages, which change frequently, and proofreaders are needed to keep them error-free.

You might also search for websites with a lot of written content on a day-to-day basis, for example, news sites.

Send a letter and resume to marketing directors at these organisations and/or to the owners of the websites, offering to handle their proofreading. Here is a slightly risky but attractive guarantee: Promise the proofread document they get back will be 100% error-free or it will cost them nothing.

To make this guarantee, you have to be specific. For instance, define what dictionary is considered to have correct spelling, lest they point to an obscure dictionary that contradicts your spelling of a word.

Moving Up: Freelance Copy Editing

A proofreader is responsible for correcting mechanical errors in writing, such as spelling mistakes and bad grammar.

One step up the editorial ladder from proofreaders, copy editors do more than just correct manuscripts with a red pencil. They also edit and rewrite to make the text flow smoother and sound better, usually using the “Track Changes” feature in Word. Proofreader and editor Liz Broomfield describes copy editing as “playing with the order of words to make the most elegant sentence.”

But as a copy editor, you must be judicious in your rewrites. The goal is to improve the writing while preserving the author's voice and style, not rewrite it in your own voice and style. Fees for freelance copyeditors range from Rs 1,000-1,500 per page (an A4 size document with approximately 600 words) and up. The consensus is that proofreading is more straightforward and mechanical, while copyediting is somewhat more interesting and enjoyable.

Ultimately, copy editors can move even higher up the food chain in the publishing and business worlds. In book publishing, for instance, a copy editor might graduate to book acquisitions editor, where you read manuscripts submitted to your publishing house and decide whether your company should publish them. Or you can be a development editor who works directly with authors to help them write a better book.

Both proofreaders and copy editors have promising opportunities in almost any economy. With the way content is being published online and offline on a daily basis, the demand for these services is here to stay.

And if you're passionate about language, here's an extra income opportunity you will not only enjoy but also profit from. Sincerely,

Bob Bly

Editor's Note: This business opportunity has immense potential in India. In fact, I remember when I first started working in a publishing house, we had a proofreader who came in every evening for just an hour and looked over the day's articles. He got paid by the word and came in post his job hours. We gave him printouts, he used his ruler and red pen and marked out all the changes for us to incorporate.

This still happens today and websites like will take you through the entire process of how to proofread and charge your clients. Additionally, your resume can be uploaded on all the local job portals like,, or better still for foreign clients.

So take out your red pens and get started!

Best, Ritika Bajaj

Extra Income Opportunity #21: Life's a Party and You Can Help Plan It... for Pay

Every day of the year, thousands of business meetings and social events take place across the country. In the US alone, about 1.2 million events occur annually, attended by 205 million people.

I'm sure being the large and diverse land that India is, with multiple celebrations and festivals, there are many more events planned and an even greater demand for event planners. The wedding industry itself is a huge one and constantly looking for newer innovations and event planners.

In fact, according to an article in The Economic Times, industry experts peg the annual wedding and event spend in India at around Rs 1,500-1,800 crore. And they project that the event management industry itself should touch Rs 5,000 crore by 2015.

Not all events need a professional planner, but most medium- and large-sized events do. If there are more than a couple of dozen attendees, you can't just wing it. Instead, you have to plan everything, from reserving the meeting space and sending out the invitations, to planning the menu and taking registrations.

Big corporations and associations usually have event and meeting planners on staff. But other organizations, such as mid- to small-sized companies, hire freelance planners. Individuals who want to host weddings or other large parties also hire freelance planners.

With a little research, you can develop yourself as a freelance event planner and make good money. And if you are creative, you'll be able to build a freelance business that really pops.

One woman, FD, was a meeting planner for a trade association. When she decided to branch off independently, she became a freelance manager for small associations. A large part of that job entailed planning meetings for the associations.

Another woman, RH, built a freelancing business that specializes in events and launches for tech companies and related businesses. For a fashion company launching a line of four new fragrances, she arranged a gourmet dinner based around ingredients in the scents. She even hosted an event on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Geetika Chhatpar featured in the Startup eSeries runs a successful event management company in India called Pyjama Party Productions. She first started out with a party paraphernalia store and then went on to plan events for friends and family. Soon the events and clients got bigger and today she organises theme parties for weddings and corporates and spices them up with her distinct creative edge.

LV runs a successful international event production company. The budgets for her events range from several lakh and touch a few crore, and she receives a percentage of the total event cost.

Joined the Wealth Builders Club India, and choose an opportunity from the Extra Income Project. I've done very well after following the “Importing Goods From China” strategy. And I've just gotten started. Good luck. - Club member AC HL, a musician, put together an interesting version of an event planning business. He had only achieved modest success as a musician, but then he decided to put together an orchestra that could provide live music at major events. HL's group does not make records or give concerts; they play only at meetings where they are paid a handsome fee to do so.

DV, meanwhile, left a top corporate position to become a highly successful and well-paid wedding planner. She specializes in celebrity weddings, and has developed an impressive client list.

If you're the kind of person who enjoys details and who strives to be organized, meticulous, and thorough… if you like people… and if you can come up with fun, creative ideas for things to do… then event and meeting planning may be an ideal business opportunity for you.

Is Event and Meeting Planning for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, Mark Ford began the Extra Income Project because he wanted to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that goal, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well the event planning business passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Being an event or meeting planner is not prohibitively difficult. The primary attributes needed for success are attention to detail, good organizational skills, and an ability to get along with people. Specifically, you need to be able to negotiate with event attendees, speakers, and vendors - even when they are cranky and difficult. If you are also an idea person with a sense of creativity, you will have a big advantage.

One of the biggest challenges with any event planning is making all the minute details come together smoothly. You have to coordinate dozens of different parts, from videotaping the awards ceremony to keeping the cocktail bar stocked.

But while planning and running a meeting is a juggling act, nothing you juggle requires highly specialized training on your part. The aspects that require technical knowledge are typically outsourced to specialist vendors. For example, an audiovisual technician will likely oversee the microphone and lighting, while a professional speaker will likely act as the emcee.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

To become an event planner, you do not need to rent an outside office. You can run your freelance event planning business from a spare bedroom, basement office, or even the dining room table.

Yes, if you have a nice outside office, clients can come to you, saving you travel time. But if not, you can meet them in their offices and do most of your planning at home. Of course, you must be on site before, during, and after the meeting to supervise everything.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends.

The number of days you work as a planner is determined by how many meetings and events you choose to schedule, which is something you can control. So, event and meeting planning can be either a part-time or a full-time gig for you. Some events do take place on weekends, but you will surely find most clients prefer their events during the work week.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs are low, and there is little overhead to working as a freelance event planner. Vendors who supply products and services used at events and meetings - from tables and chairs to musical entertainment - will bill your client directly, so you won't have to lay out your own cash for anything.

Like many service businesses we've profiled here, all you really need to start as an event planner is a desk, a phone, and a computer with a broadband Internet connection. Since you must be able to communicate with clients and vendors while on site at an event, a smartphone is a must. If you already have these things, and you work from a home office, you can probably start the business for under Rs. 20,000. You should also have business cards and a brochure about your services.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 25,000-Rs. 50,000 per event.

Event planners make between Rs. 12 - 15 lakh per year, with an average salary of around Rs. 1 lakh.

For a small event like a party, independent event planners are paid either a flat fee of Rs. 25 - 50,000 per event, or a percentage of the overall cost of the event. For larger events, like weddings, your invoice could well into many lakh.

FD (mentioned earlier) has annual earnings in the high five figures. Some meeting planners make up to six figures.

What Does an Event or Meeting Planner Do?

Here's what's involved in planning a major business event or important meeting:

First, you meet with the client to understand the purpose of the meeting or event. It is important that you understand exactly what the client wants to achieve from their event. You also need to understand the tone they want for the event. Remember, you need to follow their guidelines and preferences, and then act creatively within those boundaries.

Second, you plan the scope of the event, including date, time, location, agenda, and budget. Some clients have a firm budget. Others know what they want and expect you to tell them what it will cost.

Third, you coordinate with vendors who will provide the various services and products you need for the event. One Internet marketer built a seven-figure online income selling table favours for weddings. At one wedding, each table had a small glass bowl as part of the centerpiece; inside the bowl was a Siamese fighting fish that guests could take home at the end of the evening as a pet. Very cool!

You solicit bids from venues and vendors including hotels, banquet halls, florists, photographers, DJs, magicians, jugglers, singers, and whatever else the occasion requires. The client must approve both your selection of venues and vendors, as well as the price for each item.

You inspect the hotel or other meeting facility to ensure its suitability. In some cases, this may require getting on an airplane for an out-of-town event. The client foots the bill for your travels, and the hotel often “comps” your stay if you are the planner, so you don't pay for the room or meals.

Prior to the event or meeting, you coordinate and confer with vendors and venue staff to arrange all the details, including rooms, transportation, and food service. When I managed trade show exhibits for companies, I had to worry about every little detail, down to ashtrays for the booths (people smoked back then) and electricity for our backlit booth graphics.

Thank you for all the valuable information at WBC. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with you and the other members of the team! I also believe that I have been offered this opportunity at the right stage of my life! - Club member TS. During the event, you monitor activities to ensure both your client and their attendees are satisfied, and that any problems are resolved quickly, correctly, and courteously. One dissatisfied attendee who complains angrily to the meeting planner can put a crimp in the day. If there are multiple complaints, and they are not handled well, you are unlikely to get a repeat assignment from that client.

As the meeting planner, your tasks range from the big-picture planning to the nagging little details. One day, you may be sitting across the table from a company's senior management, planning the theme of a product launch or a company anniversary. A few weeks later, you could be behind the stage at the event, setting up audiovisual equipment for the speakers.

After the event, you review all the vendor bills and approve them before turning the invoices over to your client for payment. You will need to negotiate and resolve any discrepancies.

Getting Started as an Event or Meeting Planner

There are several diploma and degree courses for event planning in India that range from a few months to over a year. While this certification can certainly be helpful, keep in mind that it is not a requirement.

One great way to get started in the planning industry is to work for people you know. For example, LV got her start by planning small events for her network of friends and associates for free, then she graduated to charging high fees for major corporate shindigs.

FD worked as a staff meeting planner at an association. When she went out on her own, she gained traction by writing a book on meeting planning for a major publishing house.

You should also be sure to network with people in businesses and associations that might have meetings. Many event planners indicate that this is the most important part of their business model. Your networking may be less targeted and more widespread than in some other fields, because you truly never know which organizations need help nor who in the company is responsible for the event. An annual company sales meeting, for instance, might be the responsibility of a staff meeting planner, a human resources manager, or the sales manager.

You should also introduce yourself to vendors. Many industries have bureaus that can help navigate this terrain. For example, reach out to speakers' bureaus, entertainment bureaus, and hotel management bureaus. Clients often ask these people for recommendations on meeting planners, so you can acquire business from their referrals. Remember to always give a nice gift when you get such a referral.

Be sure to keep a running folder of testimonials from clients, whether you were paid or it was a freebie (but for goodness sake, don't say it was a freebie). Eventually, you can include this information on your brochure or website. Also be sure to maintain a list of the services you provide, photos of your events, and a brief bio of you or your company.

I recommend you have similar content posted online on a website for your business; many people planning an event start their searches for help on the Web. Take and post short video clips of your event on your home page or a separate “sample events” page. Optimize your website for the right term to attract qualified leads; e.g., “Event Planner - Software Industry” if your niche is high-tech. Remember, you can build a website for free (or close to free) using a site such as WordPress or Squarespace.

Do not ignore social media. Build up a list of LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends, and Twitter and Pinterest followers. Do not do any selling on these sites. Do give and share helpful tips on running successful events.

Market yourself with content. You don't have to write a book. Do a short white paper or special report of event planning tips, or even a one-page checklist for event planning or management. Allow prospects to download free PDFs of your content from your website in exchange for giving you their contact information.

Also ask on the download form if (and when) they have an event coming up. A prospect who has an event coming up is far more likely to hire you than someone who is thinking of an event but has not committed to it yet.

What to Do Next

Find a friend or an associate who has a small event or meeting coming up, and offer to help plan and manage it for free. In exchange, you want to be able to list them as a client, get a testimonial, use them as a reference, and show photos of the event on your website or in your brochure. Once you get three of these freebies under your belt, you can use the experience to get paid planning assignments.

Consider starting off with smaller events and smaller venues. These can include small- to medium-sized weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation parties, and retirement parties.

These smaller events have fewer moving pieces and parts, and are a good place for novice planners to start since they are easier to do. Most don't pay as well as corporate and association events, though affluent people often spend small fortunes on weddings and some of these other special occasions.


Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #22 - Virtual Assistants: the New Secretaries of the 21st Century

When I was a kid, my dad, who was an insurance agent, had a secretary named Carrie. I remember her being as old as Methuselah - who lived as long as 969 years according to the Hebrew Bible. (But she was probably only 60!). She typed over 100 words per minute on a manual typewriter, which amazed everyone.

The 20th century model for having an assistant was to hire a secretary. Carrie worked in an office my father provided, at a desk and typewriter he bought for her use. That title later morphed to “administrative assistant.” This was still an employee on your payroll and working in your office.

The 21st century model of the secretary/administrative assistant is the virtual assistant, or VA. She (or he) performs many of the same tasks as a secretary. But the VA is self-employed - a freelancer not on your payroll. Also, she works remotely from home and pays for her own work space and equipment.

And while Carrie worked for my dad full time, today, most clients hire VAs on a part-time basis. So, to make a good living, most VAs have multiple clients.

In India too, the concept is gaining ground and being used by both entrepreneurs and professionals who need to keep their books in order or track their personal correspondence. Several countries in fact outsource the function to India and pay handsomely in dollars!

I know the VA profession well since I have been using VAs for decades. Jodi, my current VA, has been with me for more years than I can remember. She works full time for me - I am her sole client - handling all my VA needs. But she works from her home, which is over an hour away from mine, and I see her rarely.

Before Jodi, I had Carolyn and Dick. Carolyn found clients by running classified ads in the local newspaper in which she billed herself as a “word processing service.” Dick was my virtual bookkeeper. Dick had been CFO of a local company, but lost his job to downsizing. No other company wanted to hire a CFO in his 60s at Dick's pay level, so he decided to freelance.

Dick's case is not unusual. Many VAs are people who, for whatever reason - whether they were laid off or just got tired of their job - left a high-paying corporate job. And instead of looking for another, they become VAs. Many other VAs are women who have spent years as homemakers. They want to re-enter the work force, but through self-employment rather than on someone's payroll.

MD left a secure 9-to-5 job in a bank to become a VA. She then expanded to offer additional services. These included consulting, online office support, social media, and website design.

About 18 months after signing The Pledge, my net worth is approaching Rs 25 lac and growing… Without the club, I would not have this net worth to show for! The Wealth Builders Club is changing my life. - Club member CW. SC started her VA business in 1992. At first, she did data entry. Then she targeted contractors who worked out of their trucks, but she found that contractors did not pay her invoices on time. So in 1997, SC began targeting financial advisors, which are her current niche. The services she offers include general office administration and order fulfillment (some of her clients sell products).

On-site secretaries are becoming an endangered species. The hot trend for small business owners is to hire virtual assistants.

Why Becoming a VA Is a Great Extra Income Opportunity

As I always like to remind our subscribers, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months to determine the specific criteria every opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria to see how well being a virtual assistant passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Virtual assistants are essentially remote secretaries. They need a variety of skills, and, in the digital age, VAs have to master more tasks than in Carrie's day. These include using spreadsheets in Excel, typing in Word, creating PowerPoint presentations, maintaining customer and prospect files, and keeping the books on QuickBooks or other related programs. Carrie mainly typed, filed, and answered the phone.

However, it's not nuclear physics or software engineering. If you are reasonably intelligent and computers don't scare you, you can be a VA.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

VAs work at home. That is why we call them “virtual” assistants.

Yes, you get to work at home. But, a negative of being a VA versus an administrative assistant who commutes to an office: As a VA, you have to equip your home office out of your own pocket.

That means you pay for your own computer, printer, scanner, photocopier, fax machine, phone, Internet access, and software. Clients will expect you to have the same software they do. If you get a new client who uses Microsoft Access and you don't have it, she will expect you to get it at your expense.

Now, if you establish a long-term relationship with a client, they may help foot some of the bill for what you need to service them. Carolyn stored a lot of files for me, so when she needed new file cabinets for her home office, I paid for them.

Third: You can choose to work part-time or on the weekends.

You can definitely be a VA part time. There are many small businesses that want to hire administrative help for only a few hours per week. You can do some of the work on the weekends. But, clients do need their VAs to be available during work week business hours… not every minute, but enough that if clients call and leave a message, their VAs get back to them within a couple of hours.

No matter how many hours you work, VAs do enjoy the benefits of flex time. Jodi, my VA, works for me over 30 hours per week. But as long as she gets the work done, I don't dictate to her when she works.

This fits in with her lifestyle. Jodi is the mother of three young children. She spends a lot of time chauffeuring her kids to school, sports, and other activities. As a VA, Jodi can give full attention to her family while earning a good living. If she were in the corporate world, she would not have this degree of freedom.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

As a VA, you have to turn a spare room, into an office and equip it at your cost. But you can start with as little as a desk, a phone, a PC running Microsoft Office, and a file cabinet.

You will also need business cards and a letterhead. Plus, you'll need to do some marketing to get clients. If you already own a PC, you can start a VA business for under Rs 25,000.

Other than that, anyone can get started as a VA. There are no licenses, certifications, degrees, or special training - other than computer skills - required. Some VAs do acquire specialized skills, the more common ones being bookkeeping, database management, website design, and social media marketing.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 1,500-5,000 per hour.

You can, though Rs 5,000 is near the top of the range. Most VAs should be able to make a minimum of Rs 3,000 per day per client. There are two ways to increase your earnings as a VA. The first is to learn and offer a value-added skill.

The International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) recommends VAs learn a broad range of software applications for bookkeeping and accounting, data management, desktop publishing, website design, and all the major Microsoft Office programs including Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.

The IVAA also recommends learning additional skills, including proofreading, event planning, project management, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. As you work your way toward garnering more of these financially valuable skills, you’ll be of a greater value to your client(s) and can command higher pay.

The second way to boost your income is to go beyond being a solo VA and hire other VAs who work under you. MD, mentioned earlier, has a VA company that now grosses around Rs 20 lakh per month.

Getting Started as a VA

There are three steps to getting started as a VA. The first is setting up your office with the necessary equipment and software, which we’ve discussed.

The second is acquiring the necessary skills, which includes proficiency with the software VAs use.

Fortunately, today, many local community colleges or high schools offer adult education extensions. These teach most of the skills described in this essay. And because these courses are not intended to earn one a degree, they are less expensive than regular college courses.

Microsoft also provides free online training for its operating systems and applications software. You can check that out here.

The third step in becoming a VA is to get clients. The three basic methods of getting clients as a VA are word of mouth, networking, and marketing.

Start by telling everyone you know about your new VA business. You may find that spreading the word solely through your own acquaintances, friends, and family brings you all the business you need.

The beauty about your delivery model is it provides options for the reader to take - continue to read or move on… As a Wealth Builders Club member, I now have a one-stop shop to take more calculated risks, all while cherry-picking the ideas that align to my temperament. Thanks and keep the ideas coming. - Club member G B. In some professions, getting clients is a challenge - but not so for virtual assistants. As you let people know you are available to help support their small businesses as a freelance administrative assistant, many will eagerly look to buy some of your time.

The only problem is that a lot of these clients buy only small amounts of time, and do so sporadically. Much more desirable is to have a few clients who buy large chunks of your time - ideally at least a day per week - on a regular basis.

For instance, when I first found Carolyn, she advertised herself as a freelance word processing service - really a typist - and did small project work like term papers for students. I called the number in her ad and said, “What kind of rate can you give me if I commit to buying 20 hours of your time per week and pay you a monthly retainer for it?” It was a great deal for her. Plus, it added a stability to her business that she previously did not have.

Should you not be able to fill your book of business through word of mouth, you can do more proactive networking.

In almost every town, there are networking groups where you can meet small business owners who are potential clients for your VA services.

If word of mouth and networking alone don't bring you enough clients, you can do some marketing and self-promotion.

DM primarily uses social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. But she also uses content marketing on YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes Podcasts, and her blog. She distributes news about her business using online press releases. SC says her primary marketing tool is her online newsletter.

Don't neglect low-tech offline marketing. Send a postcard to small businesses within 5 kilometres of your home. Bullet list the services you offer. Or, like Carolyn, run small ads in your local newspaper or the region's business magazine.

Instead of using an American to design my websites and manage the technical aspects of my online business, I hired DD. He's a VA in the Philippines. Many in America (and other countries) would hire Indians too, thus making it a lucrative opportunity for all you members there!

I have dozens of small websites, so I keep him busy. But the monthly retainer is only a few hundred dollars. That's a small sum to me compared to what I would pay an American webmaster. But it's a handsome fee to him.

Anybody who offers a professional service, especially one that runs on computers and the Internet - where it is not necessary to meet the client face to face - has competition today from overseas service providers. They can offer similar services at a small fraction of the cost.

But even though the business is largely conducted remotely, most small businesses prefer to work with VAs who are local…within the same state, if not the same county. Jodi can get in the car and see me, which we find necessary a few times per year. I have never met DD face to face and probably never will.

There are various professional platforms for VAs, including Task Barge, Ask Sunday, Habiliss and Get Friday Joining them gives you the opportunity to share experiences and best practices with your fellow VAs. And you can learn from those who are more experienced and advanced in their careers than you are.


Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #23: Make People Look Good on Paper - Write a Resume, Change A Life

In 2015, approximately 1.9 million undergraduates completed school and prepared to enter the workforce. On top of that, 48% of employed Americans said they planned to change their jobs.

But those aren't the only ripples to hit the job market: One in 20 Americans is unemployed and looking for work, and the average American changes jobs 11 times during his or her career.

India has one of the biggest youth populations in the world. Millions graduate each year and not all receive employment through campus placements. Many are still waiting to be employed.

All this job hunting is good news for this Extra Income Opportunity. Did you know you can make a nice freelance living helping all these job seekers write a resume?

In her book, Resume Magic, Susan Whitcomb tells job seekers, “Writing your resume is an opportunity to write your future. This is your preordained appointment to update, advance, and 're-image' who you are. It's a time to ponder your passions, values, and hard-wired skills.”

LR, a former HR manager, runs a full-service resume-writing and job consulting firm. Her clients are high-achieving executives and professionals whom she helps land their next positions.

BB started writing resumes in the 1980s for friends and families while she held a 9-to-5 job in human resources. She put up a website offering her resume-writing services in 2004 and became a certified professional resume writer in 2009.

SM has been a resume writer so long, she wrote her early resumes on a typewriter! She says, “I am a certified professional resume writer and member of prestigious industry organizations. I have been recognized for my resume writing proficiency and job-market knowledge by being recruited as a speaker, presenter, and resume writer by many different types of organizations.”

The History of Resume Writing

The oldest-known resume was created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1482. He included such skills as: bridge-making, sculpting, weapon-making, shipbuilding, and architecture. And what resume would be complete without catapult-making?


But it wasn't until the 1940s and 1950s that resumes became a more common part of the job search process.

And as the 20th century progressed, technology like computers, fax machines, and the Internet forever changed the way we write - and share - our life accomplishments.

Is Resume Writing for You?

As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure, and we've been working hard to fill it ever since.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well resume writing passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

Resumes are brief and somewhat formulaic. You don't need a flair for creativity to write them. But you do need to be able to write cogent, articulate prose. When it comes to resumes, every word counts!

Unless you consider yourself a bad writer with particularly poor spelling skills, you can learn to write resumes for money.

You do not need any specialized training. No licensing, degree, or certification is required, though certifications are available and can be a selling point with clients.

You don't need a specialized background or a proven track record as a writer to go into the resume business. However, having prior work experience as an executive recruiter, human resources professional, or career coach is certainly a plus. In fact, many executive recruiters and career coaches offer resume writing as part of their services.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

You do not need to rent an office. Freelance writing, including resume writing, is an ideal home business. You can meet with clients at your home or theirs, or even work remotely via phone, fax, Skype, email, or postal mail.

You also need a computer. It should have a high-speed Internet connection. Resumes are often written using Adobe InDesign or other desktop publishing software. But Word works just fine.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends.

You can work as much or as little as you desire by limiting the number of clients you take on. You can write resumes full time during the day. Or, keep your 9-to-5 job and write resumes for spare-time income on evenings and weekends. It's up to you.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs are low, and there is almost no overhead. If you already have a computer, you may have to invest a few thousand rupees in desktop publishing software and a high-resolution printer. Expenses such as business cards are minor. A website is recommended. You could also begin by creating a profile websites like Fiverr (, and build a client base.

And Fifth: You should be able to make Rs 1,500-3,500 per resume

The better and more successful resume writers can earn quite a decent living from it.

The going rates for writing resumes for entry-level employees and new college graduates are in the range of Rs 1,000-2,000 per resume.

For professional employees, like engineers and accountants, the range is Rs 1,500-2,500 per resume.

The top money is in writing resumes for executives, where the range is Rs 2,500-5,000 per assignment.

Independent resume writers earn between Rs. 3-5 lac per year, with the average being Rs 4 lac annually.

If the client needs a cover letter, figure Rs 1,000 - 2,000 per letter.

Job Searching in the 21st Century

In the pre-Internet era, there were two primary job search techniques. The first was sending cover letters and resumes in response to help-wanted ads in the newspaper. The second was mailing resumes, cold, to potential employers and asking whether they had any positions open.

Today, much of your clients' job searching takes place online. They are searching for jobs on CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn.

Your clients need resumes they can post on these sites that will help them stand out from the noise. They also need to be able to print resumes to mail the old-fashioned way or to bring with them to job fairs and interviews.

Today's job searchers also need to know how to manage their online reputations. In the 21st century, recruiters aren't just looking at a candidate's work achievements; they are also Googling that candidate to find out more about his or her past, social life, and family.

As a resume writer, you can distinguish yourself by offering to help candidates fine-tune their social media profiles. If it's appropriate, consider adding links to these sites at the bottom of the resume.

In addition, some job seekers are posting video resumes on YouTube. Again, writing these video resume scripts could be a value-added service you perform for your clients. But keep in mind, video resumes are mostly used in creative fields and, in the wrong circles, can even come across as overly eager or immature.

Despite these online innovations in job hunting, don't scoff at the notion of printed resumes and cover letters. According to several career development experts, job hunting on the internet does not have a higher success rate than applying to help-wanted ads in newspapers and magazines.

How to Write Strong Resumes

In today's job marketplace, three out of four job applicants who submit a resume do not hear back from the employer. But sending a careful, well-crafted resume can certainly boost the likelihood of landing an interview.

And that means knowing exactly how to articulate your accomplishments.

In the late 1970s, resumes talked about education, job titles, and skills. Today, employers are more interested in the outcomes and results you achieved in your career.

For this reason, the best resumes, show how an employee made or saved the company money, saved time, made work easier, solved specific problems, gave the company a competitive edge, attracted new customers, retained existing customers, or expanded the business.

We scoured several sites and developed the following list of more tips for modern resume writing. We even ran the list past a few of our hiring managers who agreed with the advice:

Keep it short - no more than one or two pages. Remember: The purpose of a resume isn't to land a job; the purpose is to land an interview. Recruiters receive more resumes than they can possibly read, so be brief and poignant.

Make it easy to read - on a level any high school senior could understand.

Be clear about what your current company and your particular division within it do. Not everyone may be familiar with them.

Use 9- to 12-point Times New Roman black type on white paper. Go easy on boldface, italics, and underlining.

Prepare the resume in a simple Word format. When your final version is ready, save it as a PDF. Not every office computer can read .docx files, but virtually everybody can open a PDF. Saving your resume as a PDF will also avoid formatting errors that can occur on different computers.

Use reverse chronological order. That means your most recent work should appear at the top of the page.

You do not have to use full sentences.

For each position, give the name of the company, what it does, the dates you started and left, the positions you held, and your accomplishments. Use numbers and statistics; e.g., “Increased profits by 28%.”

Don't include an objective. An employer doesn't care about your objective. She cares about her objective.

Don't include personal information about your family, and avoid using photos. Tony Beshara, author of Unbeatable Resumes, says, “You are looking for a job, not a date.”

Avoid cliches such as “customer oriented,” “excellent communications skills,” and “creative.” As Beshara explains, “These words lack meaning and do absolutely nothing to get you an interview.”

Cater the resume to the precise requirements of the job.

How to Write a Cover Letter to Accompany the Resume

Many resume writers also write cover letters. This challenging and important skill, if done right, can certainly bring you plenty of additional work - and remuneration.

The cover letter is an applicant's chance to explain to the recruiter why he or she is the ideal match for the position. For this reason, it's important to meet with your client and understand more deeply why he or she is passionate about a particular opportunity.

Recruiters and hiring managers respond much better to cover letters addressed to them specifically, rather than generic “Dear Employer” salutations. So, how do you find the right person to send your cover letter and resume to?

First, search LinkedIn to determine who at the company might be hiring for the type of position you want. Also, Google the company name, position, and “human resources” or “careers” to find a hiring contact.

Our research found an effective cover letter achieves the following:

An introduction that is fresh, interesting, and relevant. A body that shows an intelligent understanding of the employer's needs and highlights your ability to meet those needs. This is an opportunity to show you're not simply copying a letter you sent to another recruiter. Tailor it specifically to this job, and come across as genuine and sincere. A closing paragraph that suggests a meeting or invites the recruiter to take further action (e.g., if you are an architect, you could offer to send images of the buildings you have designed). A single-page limit, or 1.5 pages at most. A clear, light style that avoids lengthy sentences or jargon.

My friend Sharon Armstrong, author of The Essential HR Handbook, suggests a novel approach to writing cover letters: Format the body of the letter in two columns. The left column is labelled “Your requirements” and the right column “My qualifications.” This allows the recruiter to instantly see you are qualified for the job.

Marketing Your Resume Writing Services

As with any business, you'll need to develop a clear marketing plan to advertise your services. Here are some tips on getting clients to hire you to write their resumes:

Target college students by placing fliers on bulletin boards located on college campuses. You can also rent lists with the names of students; consider mailing brochures to the names on these lists. Offer a finder's fee to clients who refer their friends and colleagues to you. If you don't want to offer cash, give them a free add-on service like a cover letter. Students are tight on cash and therefore particularly receptive to finder's fee offers. Gain exposure in the business community by networking in local professional and civic organizations. Introduce yourself to the staff at the unemployment office. Leave them several business cards. Post fliers on public library bulletin boards and at copy centers. Give seminars and talks on resume writing or job hunting. Place ads in your local newspapers. Put up a small website and optimize it for “resume writing” in your county and state. Rewrite resumes for your friends and family for free in exchange for them giving you feedback, testimonials, referrals, and letting you use their resumes as samples on your website (but remove their personal information before posting). Host a “resume night” where people can give each other feedback, conduct mock interviews, and absorb your expertise, all while enjoying snacks and drinks. Collect testimonials from people who have gotten jobs after using the resume you wrote for them. Post these testimonials on your site. Use LinkedIn to connect with executives who may be looking for new positions and need resume writing services. You can also promote yourself as a resume writer, job search expert, or career consultant on other social networks including Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. A blog can also demonstrate your expertise in the job-search process, as well as raise your website's ranking on Google. To get your foot in the door, offer to critique the client's current resume for free.

What to Do Next

In addition, there are several books on how to write resumes and cover letters, including the following:

Unbeatable Resumes

Resume Magic

The Resume Handbook

Get it Done: Write a Cover Letter

How to Write Better Resumes and Cover Letters

Then, implement the steps discussed in this article for getting clients.

The extra income will feel great, and the sense of pride in helping people find work will feel even better.

Extra Income Opportunity #24: Commercial Modelling: Glamour, Glitter and Gold

When I first wrote to introduce myself, I briefly spoke about my work as a commercial model. I remember, I was hanging out at a cafe when a casting director spotted me because of my curly hair… and that's how it all began. The casting girl insisted that I audition for her next project- a Hyundai commercial. Intrigued by the notion of exploring a different field altogether, I went ahead.

I vividly remember, it was on September 9, 2012 that I shot for Hyundai advertisement. The experience taught me that besides all the glamour and fame, this field was a fabulous source of extra income.

TV Commercials: A Shining Opportunity

Globalisation has expanded our markets and made competition fierce. With new products turning up every day in the market, companies invest big money in advertisements and promotions. The reigning players do the same to maintain their market dominance.

Nothing reaches the masses like TV. That is why thousands of TV advertisements are produced every year.

If you have ever hummed the words 'Nirma detergent powder' in your head - or thought 'Fevicol ka jod hai, tootega nahin' when you saw something breaking, you will know that TV ads have the power to sway us.

And with this we come to our newest extra income opportunity - modelling for brands in TV commercials.

A TV commercial is a film made to promote a brand or product. The performers in an advertisement are called commercial models. Advertisements are short, usually under a minute. Shooting is also short, usually between one and three days.

Who is this opportunity for?

We are presenting this as a uniquely Indian opportunity - owing to the overwhelming number of TV commercials we are subject to over here, and an age-old Indian obsession with appearing on television.

Because of the relatively short time commitment, commercial modelling presents a great extra income avenue for people of all ages and professions. It is helpful if you have flexibility in your work hours, or have free time on the weekends to pursue potential jobs. Some Mumbaikars who have tapped this opportunity make good money working in commercials. This opportunity is suitable only for those who are residing in, or within easy traveling distance of Mumbai and Delhi. Mumbai has the largest number of opportunities.

Aditya Singh Rajput, aka Addy, a familiar name in the industry, has worked with numerous models and non-models in his long career. The supermodel and founder of Pop Culture Talents says, Nowadays, we're into casting and all I can say is that while we cast high-street models for TVCs [television commercials], we regularly scout fresh faces. You may come from any walk of life… If you have the spunk, you will get a chance.

How to get started

Although it may seem easy-and-rosy from the outside, breaking into the industry requires effort and patience. But it won't take more than a few hours from your daily routine.

Scouting opportunities

The best way to get started is by Googling 'casting call'. The results should give you an idea of the casting opportunities and current projects. They will specify age and character requirements, and how to apply. Generally, they ask that you send an email with your bio, physical stats and some pictures.

Some websites to check include and other independent audition blogs.

Another option is to search and follow casting groups for free on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

If you know someone who already works in the industry, don't hesitate in asking for guidance.

Note: These usually aren't casting directors or film directors but agents or assistants who work for them. If an agent makes an offer that seems too good to be true, it could be a scam.

Get yourself clicked Get yourself clicked Source: Pop Culture Media

If acting is a job, a model's photograph is his resume. Luckily, you don't need the qualifications of an IITian, but you do need to apply for the job. And the better the application, the better the chances.

You can pay to have a professional portfolio shot, or you may apply with your own pictures. But don't think the awesome selfie that you clicked yesterday will work. And don't include photographs in which you wear glasses because your face is partially hidden. A good photograph has certain ingredients. Here's some advice from casting director, Varun Singh:

I love to see a candid photo over cliched poses. It's natural and tells who you really are! But at the same time, I won't deny the importance of a professional photoshoot because there are many things you won't take into notice otherwise. When you're clicked wearing a costume in a certain light, it adds character to the picture.

Let your portfolio show off the diversity in your look - with a variety of poses, expressions and outfits if possible. The starting price for a professional portfolio is around Rs 10,000-15,000.

Grooming and diction

Although your look matters the most, don't underestimate the power of presentation. Your pronunciation and how you carry yourself will also be taken into account during casting. The right attitude and body language is vital in this business.

If you are camera conscious, you can also choose to get some professional training.

Institutes like Actor Prepares and Kishore Namit Kapur offer diploma courses in acting and how to face the camera.

Reaching out to agencies

When you feel confident to start and have a great set of pictures, you may approach modelling agencies such as Inega, and Kwan. You may also seek independent model coordinators on social media. By now you'd be well-versed with the casting groups and blogs, so you may apply whenever you think you fit a requirement.

Avoid applying when the requirement specifies a different age group or look, or you'll just end up wasting your time.

Model coordinators and agencies may charge up to 20% of your fees, which they will charge after you're paid for the assignment. Don't get scammed into paying any amount in advance.

Casting process

When your application matches the requirements of the casting director you get a call to come in and audition for the part.


The audition is held by the project's casting director. You'll be called to a studio for a look test. Depending on the project, the casting director may ask you to give a general introduction or perform a scene in front of the camera.

Audition Source:

He might let you know the project's shoot dates and location, especially if it's going to be shot overseas. Normally, an audition runs for eight hours starting from noon. You may visit the studio anytime during those hours. It is important that you turn up at the audition in the specified dress code.


Of the many candidates who audition, only the best fits for the role will be shortlisted. If you are shortlisted, you will be informed by phone about the shoot dates and the remuneration. Normally, the characters are finalised within three days after shortlisting.


I prefer normal faces in my advertisements over extremely good looking models. A regular face connects more to the public. In fact, in most advertisements you'll find a guy-next-door kind of a model…not Vogue type. - Samar, ad filmmaker

The final selection is done by the client along with the director and ad agency. The selected candidates are called for costume trials and shoot.

But three things you must know

Here are three things you should know before you plan to tap this opportunity.

Uncertain nature of the business

It is possible that you try for months and don't see any result. It is also possible that you get selected in your first audition. The only certain thing in this business is uncertainty. Be prepared to face rejection at the auditions. Be prepared to persevere when you don't see results. As for me, I guess it was ordained. Things fell in place and I got selected in my first audition. But, I once shot with a guy…it was his first project and it took him four years to get that.

It might take time but don't let rejection demotivate you. It just means that they have a different character in mind.

Use your discretion

The commercial industry doesn't have governing regulations except for some rules set by independent production houses. There are no standard payments. Lack of control also invites scammers to the industry. Thus, use your discretion and don't be impulsive while making a decision.

Don't worry about creating art

When I saw the script for my debut ad, the writer inside me was taken aback! It was a ludicrous draft. I decided that I wouldn't do it. But the remuneration offered to me was impressive. I was as dilemmatic as Hamlet… to be or not to be.

In that moment, of all the YouTube videos I'd seen, I remembered Shah Rukh Khan's answer to a student at Yale University who asked if he could pursue art and pay the bills. SRK said, and I am loosely paraphrasing here: If you're an artist you can't afford to be choosy in early 20s. You must make capital by accepting every offer, even if they are highly uncreative assignments. A day will come when you'll be in a position to choose, you can then produce the art of your choice.

And I was an artist. I was a writer whose inspiration was already running dry. I thought, “I could take the money and travel places to find my inspiration. Or, I could chuck this poorly written script and go home.” The former idea was more practical and, three years down the line, I'm happy that I went for it.

How much can you make?

Even though commercial modelling is hard to break into, it can be quite rewarding financially. The remuneration varies on several factors. Fees are specified on per day basis, and get multiplied with the number of days you shoot. Models who are new to the industry could make between Rs 10,000 and 15,000 per day. As you get more experience you could charge more, making up to 50,000 for a day.

Contract advertisements may reward you more than that, even in lakhs.

Scope for growth

Formerly a dancer, I was initially attracted to the field because it rewards handsomely. Gradually it grew on me and became a passion. Like every profession, it has its pros and cons. I've been here for quite some time now, pursuing a sweet and sour journey…although, I'd emphasize on sweet more. Haha! - Akkash Agarvwal, super commercial model, 'the Lenskart guy'

In this creative field, skill and luck go hand-in-hand. Amrita Rao and Boman Irani rose to fame after getting their start in TV commercials.

However, if that doesn't happen, don't worry: You'll still be featured in endorsements on national television and become a familiar face. You'd love the compliments and attention you'll get in the social circles. And who knows, someday you could be shooting an advertisement with your favourite movie star!

Extra Income Opportunity #25: Be a Coach - Make Money Giving Honest Advice

hen I was a kid in the 1960s, a coach was someone who coached a neighbourhood baseball team or a high school football team.

Today, when you say coach, you are likely talking about a self-employed professional who advises clients - both individually and in groups - on strategies for living better lives, improving their careers, growing their small businesses, running a corporation, or even finding a mate.

“There's no question that future leaders will need constant coaching,” writes Ram Charan, world-renowned business advisor, author, and speaker, in the Harvard Business Review. “As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act.”

David Peterson, an executive coach, adds, “Forty years ago, no one talked about executive coaching. Today, coaching is a popular and potent solution for ensuring top performance from an organization's most critical talent.”

Although individual coaching practices are small, often comprising just a single “solopreneur,” coaching is becoming a big business. Annual revenues generated in the United States from business and life coaching are $10 billion (plus another $6 billion if you add sports coaching). And there are more than 130,000 business, life, and sports coaches offering their advice and counsel today.

The coaching industry in India is picking up at a rapid pace too. With the changing nature of businesses and the demands of technology, leaders and executives are increasingly depending on an external coach to see them reach the next levels of success.

An interesting article, authored by certified coach Dr Prakash V Bhide estimates the size of the coaching industry in India at approximately USD 60 million. It also states that coaching has seen a '50% industry growth in recent years', thus making it 'a new entrepreneurial opportunity' for many.

He goes on to say that this income opportunity is particularly undertaken by senior HR professionals, psychologists, retired CEOs and senior executives who bank on their 'long and successful industry experience…and designate themselves as an 'executive coach'.'

One woman, MD, calls herself an “integrated coach.” As such, she covers business coaching, life coaching, and even sex and sensuality coaching! She transitioned to coaching after a successful 12-year career as a freelance copywriter. She now has a busy coaching practice with all the clients she can handle.

RP, a former children's therapist, began a career as an “empowerment coach” a couple of years ago. He says he helps people “recognize their true power, break free of limiting beliefs, and create their own success.”

JK worked for years as an entrepreneur and executive. As part of his corporate job, he offered consulting work to insurance agents. He says, “I loved the work, and evidently I was good at it. When I left corporate life, I begin speaking, coaching, and training.”

In India, Rahul Jain founded Business Coaching India in 2004. An engineer and MBA by qualification, he left his lucrative job at Tata Motors to pursue entrepreneurship. Today he conducts workshops for several leading business houses and particularly helps them focus on doubling their profits and putting work structures in place.

Is Coaching for You? When Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well coaching passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand).

In the coaching profession, the barriers to entry are low. You do not need any special training, a college degree, license, or certification (though having these, as we will discuss, gives you an advantage over your competition). You also do not need psychotherapy experience. Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a coach.

“For better or worse, coaching is an unregulated industry,” says MD. “Anyone can call themselves a coach. There is a very low barrier to entry - but a very high barrier to success because of it.”

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home.

As a life coach, you do not need to rent an office, though some do. Coaching is an ideal home business. You can meet with clients at your home or theirs. You can even conduct your coaching sessions via phone or Skype. In fact, Skype is an increasingly popular technology for coaches because it offers both voice and video. To use it, you of course need a computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and a (free) Skype account.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends.

Coaches can work as much or as little as they desire by limiting the number of clients they accept.

MD, a coach with five years of experience, describes her full schedule as having 10 clients for one-on-one coaching, plus a few coaching groups. Some consultants take on as many clients as they can handle, while others cherry-pick their clients to create a part-time schedule.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital.

The startup costs of a coaching career are low, and there is almost no overhead. If you already have a computer and a Skype account, you can start your coaching practice for under Rs 15,000. Expenses such as business cards are minor. It's a good idea to have a website, as well. Keep in mind that if you choose to pursue additional training or certification, your courses may cost hundreds, or even thousands, of rupees.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 1,500-25,000 per hour.

You can make a decent living as a coach. However, most coaches don't. According to research from the School of Coaching Mastery, four out of five coaches wish they were more successful.

There are two reasons why so many coaches have modest earnings. First, with the exception of executive coaching, the clients tend to be individuals who do not have deep pockets. Second, coaching is more competitive today than it once was. This exerts downward pressure on fees.

While the top 20% coaches can make well over seven figures, the rest 80% of coaches can earn at least Rs 10 lakh annually. The highest paid coaches are business coaches whose clients are corporate executives.

Business coaches who work with executives in corporations earn, on average, Rs 10,000-15,000 per hour. Some even earn as much as Rs 35,000 per hour or more.

But fees vary. JK, for instance, charges just Rs 25,000 per month. MD on the other hand sells her clients packages of six months of coaching that are often a combination of individual and group. These could cost between Rs 3-6 lakh and there are no refunds. Training Can Be an Advantage Although there is no real requirement for coaches to have licenses, certifications, or training - and this applies even to India - it might make sense for you to acquire them anyway. According to Sherpa Coaching, coaches with training and certification earn more, become successful more quickly, and are more likely to stay in the profession.

I'm very excited to be starting down this road with a guy who seems to be able to present simple and effective advice in an accessible yet exciting way. As with just about everything else, the secret of building wealth seems like it's going to be getting the attitude and motivation right, rather than the imparting of some hidden wisdom that no one else knows. Club Member A. B. In India, Symbiosis Coaching conducts an ICF-approved life coaching program online, while MMM Training Solutions has online modules on executive coaching and mentoring, soft skills training and presentation skills. For business coaching, you may also want to pursue training on markets, business models, and basic economics. Business colleges like ISB in Hyderabad also conduct certified courses in coaching as do the International Coaching Federation (ICF), Coaching Federation of India (CFI), ICC, Franklin Covey.

Marketing Your Coaching Services Once you obtain some training and certifications, you need to recruit clients by marketing and selling your coaching services. A good way to start is to notify everyone in your personal and social networks that you are now available to provide coaching. Announce your new coaching business on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

“My first clients were people I knew personally and former colleagues,” says RP. “I networked heavily, researched online marketing strategies, boosted my social media presence, began blogging on my site, and learned to think with a business mentality. Today, I get a lot of clients through marketing campaigns, networking, referrals, speaking events, seminars, and my book.”

Writing books, white papers, and articles - today known as content marketing - is an effective method of building your reputation as a go-to coach for a general or specific market niche. The easiest way to get a book into the marketplace is to publish it as a Kindle e-book and sell it on Amazon.

The easiest way to publish articles is to write for trade journals or local business magazines. Both are usually looking for material. Make reprints of your articles and mail or hand them out to potential and current clients.

MD says almost all of her clients come through either referrals, word of mouth, or by completing a form on her website. She has clients all over the world, and she travels throughout the country to attend conferences. When she visits a new city, she arranges to meet clients and prospects who live nearby.

Once you find potential clients, don't make the mistake of working with them right away. It's important to make sure there is a good fit between your expectations and personalities. MD spends a half-hour on the phone to get to know each prospect, and in some cases, she offers an initial two-hour coaching session at no cost.

Can You Guarantee Results in Coaching? You cannot guarantee results. As the coach, you can only motivate, guide, and advise the client. You do not do the actual work; the client does that.

It is up to your clients to do what you suggest they do to become successful. And whether they do it or not, or even how well they do it, is beyond your control.

In her first formal meeting with a new client, MD makes agreements that define what the coach and client are each responsible for doing. “Agreements make coaching powerful,” she says.

But it does not guarantee success. “My goal is to have my clients' lives be impacted by what we do together, but there is no way to guarantee results, and any coach who says she does guarantee results is full of it,” MD says.

“During the initial consultation, I tell my clients I guarantee they will get out of the coaching exactly what they put into it,” says RP. “I work only with clients who truly want to create change in their lives. The client sets a goal, we work together to gather resources and determine a plan, and then we set the wheels in motion to get results.”

He goes on to say, “A coach is only as good as the results they expect and receive. I believe my clients can create significant success, and I push them toward the results they desire and deserve.”

How to Coach Every coach is different, and no two coaches follow the exact same procedures. Each has his or her unique coaching methodology.

Years ago, when I lived in NYC, I did short, one-on-one coaching sessions with clients in Manhattan on how to become successful copywriters, authors, or mail-order marketers. I would meet them in their offices, and we'd spend a couple of hours together. Mainly, they asked questions, and I answered.

There was no advance prep or review of their materials; all the work was done at the one coaching session. The modest fee I charged included me answering brief follow-up questions for up to a month following the session.

VY, a coach who helps people realize their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs or self-employed professionals, gives her clients an exercise they must complete and submit before coaching begins. It's simple: write an essay describing your ideal day. The coaching centers around helping the client achieve his or her ideal day every day.

HL communicates with his clients in one-hour weekly phone sessions. MD uses Skype. Some coaches offer one-on-one personalized service, while others do group coaching.

In terms of scheduling, some coaches work by the month, by the week, or even by the hour, with no long-term commitment. Others, like MD, require a lengthier relationship.

VY, RP, and many other coaches begin by helping the client pinpoint the No. 1 goal she wants to achieve. Then, over the course of several weeks, they give advice, encouragement, suggestions, and motivation to help the client move toward attainment of the objective.

As a coach, you share at least three things with your coaching clients, usually delivered orally as advice. First, you share whatever experience and knowledge you have that could be useful to them as they pursue their goal.

Second, you transmit to them your enthusiasm for whatever you coach, whether it's career-changing, freelancing, or starting a small business.

Third, you share resources, pointing them to vendors, associations, books, websites, home study courses, advisors, and whatever else can accelerate their progress and fill in gaps in their knowledge.

“For me, I came to realize that in every job I've done, there was an element of teaching, coaching, and mentoring,” says MD. “Turns out that gave me 'training' as a coach, unparalleled even in the top coaching programs. Which I guess is the way other people become coaches-life experience, maturity, wisdom, communication skills, an ability to tell people the truth from a place of love, and a willingness to take a stand for people.”

Coach Versus Consultant I am often asked, “What is the difference between a coach and a consultant?”

While there is an admittedly thin line between the two, here is my take:

A coach is there to support you emotionally, to give some guidance on how to live your life or run your business, and to motivate you to overcome your natural inertia. The coach's advice is typically general in nature.

For instance, the coach might suggest you email your prospects more often. But he or she won't tell you how to do it. And often, the coach is there just to listen to your ideas and weigh in with an opinion. He or she motivates and encourages you to find solutions to your challenges, but doesn't solve the problem for you. The coach is an expert in coaching, but not in the particular task she is coaching you on.

Consultants, meanwhile, offer specific solutions to particular problems. Some give detailed advice and instructions for you to fix the problem; others do the work for you.

Coaches are generally not licensed therapists. So if you act as a life coach, be sure you do not attempt to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions.

What to Do Next Consider joining a coaching association such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF), as well as an industry or local business association such as your chamber of commerce.

The ICF can help you meet and network with fellow coaches. Since most will be further along in their coaching careers than you, their guidance and advice on building a successful coaching practice can be invaluable. And the training offered by ICF can accelerate your learning.

The chamber of commerce is a venue where you can meet potential clients if you are a business coach. Likewise, BNI, a worldwide business networking organization, provides a community from which to seek out clients.

As you go about finding your clients, remember that each will be different and will present unique challenges to you. But as you work with them and help them to achieve their goals, I am sure you will find outstanding rewards.


Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #26: Bulk Up Your Wallet and Your Muscles With Personal Training

I'm neither naturally strong nor athletic, and my inclination is to avoid exercise. Yet, I know I need it. So, my solution is to belong to a gym where I work out three times per week with a personal trainer.

But if you - unlike me - are fit, and athletic, you might consider personal training as an ideal extra income opportunity. Many trainers at my gym do training as a secondary income after their day jobs.

Their day jobs vary widely. One works as a cardiac surgery tech; another is a sanitation worker. What they have in common are great physiques, peak physical conditions, and the desire to help others acquire them. BB thrived as an athlete and worked as a rescue swimmer for the Navy. When she left the military, she earned a master's degree in exercise physiology. Her business is extremely successful: She runs an 8,000 square-foot gym with a staff of six trainers.

But the vast majority of personal trainers make a good living working on a much smaller scale. Take Rahul for example. Rahul landed in Mumbai with a dream to pursue ramp modelling. However, he learnt that it was too uncertain a job to pay off his never-ending bills. He treasured a ripped body that got a lot of attention, and questions from fitness aspirants. Soon he realised that he could guide others on how to go about it, and pay his bills efficiently…in fact, earn a little more. He works as a part time trainer today, and has a limited but elite clientele.

SM earns $90(Rs 5,500) per hour training individual clients one on one. A natural athlete, SM participated in football, running, and basketball as a youth. As an adult, he has competed in triathlons and judo. Today, he is a certified kettlebell (a kind of dumbbell) instructor and a performance nutrition specialist.

RO worked for a pharmaceutical company, but the corporate job did not give her the flexibility to be with her children. Today, as a successful personal trainer, she can schedule her clients around taking her children to school and other activities.

Despite the high fees personal trainers charge, they're not just catering to the rich and famous. Personal trainers work with different kinds of people, from business professionals to new moms, to the injured or disabled. You don't have to live in a wealthy neighbourhood to find plenty of clients for your personal training business.

There are roughly 250,000 personal trainers in the United States generating total revenues of about $10 billion per year. Around 2.9 million Americans use personal trainers.

In India, the number of fitness enthusiasts are increasing by the day. ‘The fitness market is growing at an impressive rate of 25-30 per cent', says G Ramachandran , director of Gold's Gym. People living in metros, and big cities consciously include exercise in their routine. The demand for personal trainers is going to increase.

Is Being a Personal Trainer for You? As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well the personal training business passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). Can anyone be a personal trainer? In theory, yes. You have to be physically fit and reasonably strong. If you're not, you'd have to undergo your own fitness regimen to reach the top 5% or so of the population in terms of strength, flexibility, and stamina.

People in the training world like to say, “A personal trainer's body is their business card.” After all, it's a visual image of the brand they market to the world. And though you don't need bulging muscles, you should be fairly fit and toned. You should also be able to perform exercises in correct form.

For some people, they can get there through a lot of hard work, perhaps themselves hiring a personal trainer to get them in shape. Hiring a trainer has the added advantage of letting you see how he or she works, particularly the variety of exercises and how he or she deals with, trains, and motivates clients.

On the other hand, some people just don't like exercise or challenging themselves physically. If that describes you, personal training may not be the profession for you.

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home. While your office can be located in your basement, attic, or spare bedroom, most trainers do not train their clients there.

If you do train clients either at your home or a space you rent, you will need liability insurance to protect you in case of client injury or accident.

Some trainers go to their clients' homes for exercise sessions. In such cases, the effectiveness of the workout depends in part on how well-equipped the clients' home gyms are.

Other trainers rent commercial space and set up a small gym with exercise equipment. Often, they train only one or two people at a time, because there isn't space for more.

Still other trainers make arrangements with bigger local gyms to train their clients there.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends. As a personal trainer, you control your workload, because you can take on as many or as few clients as you want.

You will have some clients who want to train on the weekends, but many more who want to train weekdays, especially after work. So, your hours are often dictated by your clients' schedules, not yours.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital. Exercise equipment can be expensive. There are three ways around this.

The first is to train clients at their homes using whatever exercise equipment they own.

The second is to lease your exercise equipment instead of buying it outright. A low monthly lease payment enables you to acquire equipment your budget may not allow you to buy.

A third is, as we said earlier, to arrange to train your clients at a local gym and use its equipment. Go to the gym and ask the owner about this. It's a common arrangement, and he or she will likely be open to it. The percentage split between you and the owner is negotiable.

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 750-2,500 per hour. ‘Beginners mostly start by working at a gym. Once you're a freelancer, it depends on your client base. You might earn as much as Rs 50,000 for 12 sessions in a month, provided your client base comprises of businessmen and film personalities. But, you will certainly be able to make at least 10 grand for 12 sessions… being a professional trainer I can say that.'- Prayas Kharbadikar, 25, Mumbai

Personal trainers typically charge between Rs 750 and 1,500 per hour. Personal trainers who own gyms and employ other personal trainers can earn considerably more.

Starting and Running a Successful Personal Training Service The two key steps to going into business as a personal trainer are learning personal training - both how to train and how to run the business - and getting certified.

Certification isn't required, but having certification can give you an advantage in getting clients or employment in the field.

There are numerous organizations that offer training and certificates for men and women looking to become personal trainers.

These include the Indian Academy of Fitness Training, Gold's Gym Fitness Institute, and GIFFI Fitness Academy.

Certification training is usually done at your own pace, so you can complete it and earn your certification in months or even weeks. Costs vary with the organization granting the certification, but they are quite affordable. For instance, a three month course at Gold's Gym Fitness Institute would cost you Rs 21,000.

You do not have to be a physical “monster” to be a trainer. My current trainer, OL, is built like an oak tree and can bench press 400 pounds.

Before I worked with OL, my trainer at the same gym was CP, who, while physically strong and a former high school football player, was nowhere as powerful as OL. But, he was more nimble and agile.

At my previous gym, JR was my trainer, and he was pretty well-muscled. But, he had a couple of clients who could lift more weight than he could. This seemed to not bother him or his clients at all. So, to be a personal trainer doesn't require you to be Superman.

At my gym, the personal trainers vary between classes with three to six clients trained together and one-on-one personalized training, which is what I buy.

OL and other trainers tailor the workouts to the current physical conditions and health goals of their clients. OL has a “theme” for each day: Tuesday might be mainly cardio; Thursday, balance and flexibility; Saturday, upper-body strength.

About 75% of each session is devoted to exercises on the theme, and the rest to other activities for variety and to prevent fatigue.

Most personal trainers won't allow clients to ask for leniency. The personal trainer's job is to push clients beyond what those clients would do on their own. If you aren't willing to work a bit above your comfort zone, a trainer is probably not a good idea for you. They will, however, make occasional exceptions - for instance, taking it a bit easier on a day you are particularly exhausted or having aches and pains.

Marketing Your Personal Training Services There are numerous ways to market your personal training business and get clients.

First, tell everyone you know - family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues - you now offer personal training.

Give your clients a really great workout. Your job isn't only to exercise them, but also to motivate and give encouragement. It also helps if you are friendly and outgoing. Doing these things will generate more business through referrals and word of mouth.

Most towns have a local newspaper. You can use this to get business in two ways. First, run some quarter-page ads in the paper announcing your personal training services. Offer potential clients an initial 30-minute training session free.

Second, approach the editor and offer to write - at no charge - articles on health, fitness, and nutrition. Writing establishes your reputation as an expert in your field - in this case, physical fitness.

Speaking is another way to establish yourself as an expert and generate qualified leads. One of the easiest venues for public speaking is local gatherings, most of which have speakers talk on a variety of subjects.

Encourage referrals with some kind of incentive. The gym where I work out with my personal trainer has a standing offer for members: Refer someone who becomes a member, and it waives your membership fee for a full month.

Use endorsement marketing to get other businesses in related fields - doctors, health food stores, sporting goods stores, nutritionists, hospitals - to refer their customers to you.

How this works: Give doctors or other business owners certificates entitling their patients or customers to a free 30-minute personal training session with you. For each referral who becomes a client, give a referral fee to the business or practice that sent them.

Use the Internet. There are many ways to build your personal training business online.

For starters, have a website for your business. If you write articles for the local newspaper, post them on your site. The more content you have on your site, the higher your ranking on Google will be. See our article on starting a website.

There are specialists offering search engine optimization (SEO) services, which means they use a variety of techniques to raise your Google ranking. Consider an investment in SEO. Strive to get on the first screen of the Google search engine results page (SERP) for “personal training” in your town. Those businesses on the first screen of the SERP get the vast majority of the traffic. To learn more about SEO, go here.

Social media isn't the ideal medium for marketing personal training services because the trainer's market is local, and social media reaches people worldwide. Facebook and Instagram are especially popular for people to share their workouts and physical progress. Consider encouraging your clients to use them.

Have a box or form on your home page where visitors to your site can sign up for a free monthly or weekly electronic newsletter on health and fitness. In addition to providing tips and useful information, your newsletter can make special offers or announce new services (e.g., a new class in yoga) to generate new business.

To generate additional income, some gyms and personal trainers sell nutritional supplements, usually participating in a multilevel marketing (mlm) arrangement with the supplement maker. Others sell fitness videos and books on their sites as affiliates, meaning they get a commission from the publisher on every sale they make.

As for timing, marketing is a year-round activity. Having said that, your results will probably be best in January (after New Year's resolutions) and in March.

You can also do things like offer incentives to whichever client loses the most weight; you can offer packages for entire families; or you can come up with creative party ideas for large groups.

What to Do Next Here's how to get started in personal training.

First, make sure you are fit and in overall good shape.

Second, learn how to do personal training and get certified by one of the organizations listed earlier in this essay.

Third, set up or arrange for a place to train your clients and acquire whatever exercise equipment is needed.

And fourth, use the marketing techniques given here to get clients. Once you do that, you're in business.

Your market isn't just people who already exercise. Millions of Indians don't exercise regularly, and their doctors and friends are urging them to do so.

It's almost a universal desire to be thinner, healthier, and fitter. People want to feel better physically and live longer, and they perceive exercising regularly can help them reach those goals.

Yet, many of these people haven't exercised for years. Experts say you have to exercise just 20 minutes per day to get fit. But a vast majority of urban Indians do not exercise regularly.

Some haven't exercised for so long, they don't remember how and they don't feel like it - they have to be motivated.

As a personal trainer, you can help them exercise properly and frequently. That can make them healthier, more energetic, and more physically attractive. It may even save their lives!

Extra Income Opportunity #27: Get Paid to Shop

When I joined team Common Sense Living, I went around our office to meet the entire staff. One of them, Lester, now a copywriter, told me about his former profession of being a mystery shopper.

Mystery shopper?' I asked. I had never heard of such a thing before.

'Yeah!' he said. 'You go into an outlet for shopping, but you're not an actual shopper. Your aim is to secretly evaluate their services.'

'What? And you get paid for it?'

'Yes. Of course.'

I was surprised. Later that day I told my friend, Akanksha, about this and she was astonished to learn that she could make money just by visiting stores and surfing the products.

I was curious too. So I went online and registered with the mystery shopping company that Lester used to work with. And so began my journey as a mystery shopper.

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is a way for businesses to evaluate products and services. Companies hire mystery shoppers to go into their stores or try their services and give them feedback on how their businesses are functioning.

Mystery shopping companies help major brands improve the customer service experience they offer to their customers. When brands keep their customers satisfied, customers in turn remain loyal to those brands thus impacting the brand's revenue for the better.

A mystery shopper is also called a mystery auditor, a mystery consumer, or an evaluator. The process of evaluating services is called auditing.

As an auditor, you could find yourself evaluating any kind of service. Be it checking out a t-shirt at a Nike outlet…tasting and reviewing the latest frappuccino at Starbucks…or staying at a hotel and assessing the staff behaviour.

And you get paid to do this. PVR might pay you to see a movie. McDonald's might pay you to order a burger. Titan might pay you to buy a pair of glasses.

Yes! You will either get paid or your bill amount will be reimbursed. All you have to do in return is write a report about your experience.

A friend of mine audited a 5-star hotel's dining service. His bill of Rs 15,000 was reimbursed in full. I don't think he would have gone there otherwise. Sometimes having an experience is better than money. My favourite audit was taking the GMAT test. I got paid Rs 700 just to take the GMAT and evaluate the exam center and invigilator. - Lester

Are you tempted already? You think you could make money when you go shopping this weekend?

You can. If not make, at least save.

How to start out as a mystery shopper?

You don't need any specific qualifications to pursue mystery auditing. You only need to be a good observer and fluent in English. If you can simply act like a regular customer without giving any hint that you're an auditor, you can start right away.

Submitting a report after completing the audit is an indispensable part of this job. Good grammar and descriptions will give you an advantage over other auditors.

The report is generally a checklist carrying simple questions. For example, if you are asked to see a movie in PVR, the questions might be:

How many people came to watch the movie? Were the auditorium and washroom clean? Were the attendants friendly and courteous? Did the show start on time? When I started this job, I was asked to register as a mystery shopper on the company's website. A project manager, RP, then spoke to me on the phone. He informed me that certain guidelines would be provided before every audit and I must follow them.

He then sent me emails with lots of options for various companies that were looking for audits. Here is some of the information you will receive…

The specific products and services that you will need to evaluate. The location of the outlet where you must perform the audit. For example, if you are assigned a Domino's audit, you'll be provided with the addresses of outlets where you can go. Not all Domino's might be part of the audit, so see the list for the specific locations they need, and pick one that works for you. You will be informed beforehand about the remuneration…as to whether you'll get fees or a reimbursement on the bill, or a combination of the two. One audit I saw when I joined was Colorbar.

Colorbar, a cosmetic store, required a female auditor. I advised Akanksha to perform the audit. They offered a reimbursement of up to Rs 800 on the bill amount. She bought some cosmetics that cost her Rs 650, and wrote about her experience. Her report was accepted, and Rs 650 was reimbursed to her.

In other words, my friend just got a premium quality product…for free!

A two-fold opportunity

If you're not fond of visiting stores, but still want to make some bucks, you can work as a freelancer in the quality control department.

The reports submitted by auditors often suffer from poor grammar and short descriptions. Some reports also have incorrect information regarding the bill amount, and need to be verified.

A quality control team evaluates each report before it is submitted to the client. Usually, they rectify linguistic errors. You can work as a quality controller if you are good at English.

As a quality controller, your work hours would be flexible, you don't have to leave your house, and you will be paid in cash (instead of a reimbursement on products). As a matter of fact, I've worked more as a quality controller than auditor.

Is mystery auditing for you?

As we believe in recommending thoroughly researched opportunities that meet Mark Ford's parameters, let's see how well mystery shopping passes the litmus test for an extra income opportunity…

Anyone should be able to do it

Yes. If you know how to shop, you can work as a mystery shopper. Sometimes the audit guidelines specify the age group and gender they require of the auditor… If you fit the criteria, you can carry out the audit. The only other thing you really need is to be able to write reports in basic English. You should know to document your experience.

You should be able to start comfortably

You do not need any startup capital. You do not need any investment. You need to register for free to get started, and for that all you need is a computer and internet. You can start by searching 'mystery shopper' on Google. Then register as a new user on Channel Play or Red Quanta or any other mystery shopping company.

Getting registered is simple. It follows the same procedure as making an ID on a social website.

You can choose your work hours

You can visit the store anytime during the given hours to carry out an audit. On an average, an audit requires 25-30 minutes. And preparing a report requires the same amount of time. The whole assignment should take an hour, and you could do it any day of the week, or stick to evenings and weekends if you so choose.

You can make a fair amount of money per hour

My first audit was for Croma. The audit took 25 minutes, and filling the report took another 25 minutes. So for a 50-minute job, I made Rs 900. You can earn as much as Rs 5,000 if the audit is for a giant like Apple. And as you become more experienced, you will get more lucrative mystery shopping opportunities.

However, you will come across more audits where your bill amount will simply be reimbursed. Even if you choose those, remember that you are saving money…and every penny saved is a penny earned. Add up those free movies, dinners, and gadgets, and you find yourself living a richer life without spending more. How to be a successful mystery shopper

Being a good mystery shopper isn't difficult. It only requires basic skills and a keen eye.

First of all, establish trust with the company by always submitting accurate expense reports, with a proper picture of the bill. This is a thumb rule.

As in every field, as you build trust and experience, you will become a preferred auditor and get the most remunerative projects. You must be good at three things in order to become a preferred mystery shopper.

Good Observation

Observe the store and staff behaviour properly. From the time you step inside till you exit. Pay attention to small details. Pay attention to staff body language. Enquire about the specified product in a candid but natural manner. Try to interact with the staff to know about them.

Many audits require you to comment on the store's outlook and cleanliness. Don't overlook these things when you're on job.

Good Description

The most important thing while preparing the report is a good, detailed description. Keeping your content free from spelling and grammatical errors will not only shape your image but help you get bonus incentives too.

Good Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words…and a vital ingredient of a good audit report is good pictures. The guidelines mostly ask that you take pictures of the store exteriors and staff. Assure that the pictures you click are not blurry or ambiguous. Duly submit a picture of the bill. Also ensure that you do not attract the attention of staff members or any person related to the store when you take these pictures.

You must never do anything that will reveal your identity as a mystery shopper.

Extra Income Opportunity #28: Perfect Order - Make Money Helping People Organize

Editor's Note: So here's a warning before you read the latest Extra Income Opportunity from Bob Bly. We do realise that this service may not be perceived well by the Indian reader. You may wonder how you can barge into people's homes and offices and start cleaning up their spaces. You may also think India has loads of blue-collared workers who can willingly provide such a service for a fraction of a cost.

But here's the deal, we're not presenting this just as an income opportunity, we're presenting this as a business opportunity. Since we didn't find anyone in India doing it, we think it might just be the novel idea you've been looking for.

All you need to do is lean on your own organisational skills, train a handful of people in organising spaces and send them out to perform the job… And of course, read Bob Bly's essay which has some amazing insights on this idea… He surely knows how to put business in context!

I've been an acquaintance of Stephanie Winston's for many years. She pretty much single-handedly transformed being organized-or more specifically, helping others get organized-into a profession.

In the mid-1970s, Stephanie became one of the first professional organizers, making her a pioneer in the field. The publication of her landmark book, The Organized Executive, launched her into the spotlight and made her, for a time, the most famous and successful professional organizer on the planet.

Like Stephanie, IB became a professional organizer in the 1970s after being fired from a job. She was just 27 years old. She says she got the idea because so many people she saw were terribly disorganized. She started charging $15 (approx. Rs. 900) per hour back then to “organize the piles of paper on their desks.”

After 18 years in banking, CP became an organizer specializing in financial matters for clients who need someone to pay bills, balance checkbooks, or handle the paperwork for taxes, investments, and insurance. “Some people just forget to pay their bills, while others find it tedious or time consuming,” says CP. And penalties for forgetting to pay your taxes on time can be substantial.

Is Being a Professional Organizer for You? As I remind you in each of these articles, when Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income Project, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure.

To make good on that promise, Mark and his team brainstormed for months. They determined the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention.

Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well being a professional organizer passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). The barriers to entry in the organizing profession are low. You do not need any special training, a college degree, a license, or certification. Having the latter, as we will discuss, gives you an advantage over the competition. Literally anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a professional organizer.

In order to be successful, it is imperative that you are an organized person. While organization can be learned, those who teach it to others are mostly naturally organized people, like me. If you are a pack rat or hoarder, or if your office looks like a hurricane just hit it, professional organizing is likely not the career for you. Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home. As a professional organizer, you do not need to rent an office, though some organizers do. You can run your business from a home office. However, you will have to visit clients at their offices if you are a professional organizer, or their homes if you are a personal organizer.

Often, a big part of the organizing process is sitting with the client for hours, putting their papers into piles and their stuff into bins and boxes, and setting up filing, shelving, and other productivity systems in their offices or homes. You cannot do that remotely. Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends. You can work as much or as little as you desire by limiting the number of clients you take on. You may work with a client only a couple of hours per week. If you only have 10 clients, that will keep you busy at about 20 hours per week.

Some business clients want you to come to their offices and work with them during the regular workday. Others, not wishing to lose productive work time, are happy to meet you in the office on weekends, as are many clients who want help organizing their homes. Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital. The startup costs are low, and there is almost no overhead. If you already have a computer, a desk, and a phone, you can start your professional organizing business for under $300 (approx. Rs. 20,000). Expenses such as business cards are minor. A website is recommended. You may bring a few items to the client's location, such as file folders, bulletin boards, and other organizational tools, but the client usually reimburses these or you build them into your consulting fee. And fifth: You should be able to make Rs. 5,000 - Rs. 15,000 per hour. You can make a very good living with this income opportunity: Professional organizing fits comfortably into Mark's acceptable pay range with fees ranging from $50 to $200 - approx. Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 12,000 - (per hour). Work 20 hours per week and you make an income of $1000 (approx. Rs. 65,000) per week.

Since the service is not yet available in India, we are unable to give you any accurate rates. But you could bill as per the project or as per the hour.

Additionally, the rates could vary, depending on the services you provide. If you include Feng Shui and Vaastu consultations - a hot favourite for many Indians - you could get many thousands more. But of course, you will have to get plenty of training on those subjects.

One reason professional organizers are well-paid is because the results of their services-helping clients get more organized-can produce a big improvement in their companies' bottom lines.

According to a survey by Brother International, the cost of full-time employees in the U.S. looking for misplaced items in the office is more than $89 billion per year, as incredible as that sounds. The average employee spends 38 hours per year looking for lost items, which is equivalent to losing a full week of work every year.

The survey found items routinely misplaced include file folders, calculators, memory sticks, briefcases, suitcases, laptop computers, and PDAs. The workers most prone to losing stuff are Generation Y. And 30% of office workers have lost reimbursements for expenses because they misplaced their receipts! What Does an Organizer Do? All the services a professional organizer offers revolve around helping the client become and remain more organized. The end goal is to help the client be more productive. After all, if they are spending 10 minutes frantically searching for every document or file they need to do their work, they are not working very efficiently.

Part of the organizer's job is to teach clients organizational skills. The professional organizer usually comes to the client's office and sets up new systems for organizing and handling work or other tasks. They then teach the client to use those systems and help them practice.

An article in Entrepreneur magazine gives the following tips for increased organization and efficiency at work:

Work offsite. When you need to write a document or research a topic, the absence of office interruptions can improve concentration. Use checklists for repetitive tasks to reduce errors and make sure all steps are completed. Consolidate the number of places you go for information. There are too many apps to navigate. Make notifications from each app appear in one place. Switch off pop-up notifications so they do not interrupt your concentration. Professional organizing isn't rocket science. Some of the advice organizers give seems mundane and obvious. Yet many people don't follow it, and if they did, their lives would be much easier.

NP, for instance, advises workers to get bigger trashcans. A bigger trashcan prevents trashcan overflow. And overflow forces you to stop what you're doing, empty your trash, and search for a new plastic liner. Sounds trivial, but in a home office not served by daily office cleaning, it's a real headache. It is for me!

Another technique I have used for years, also advocated by NP, is to have a two-zone workspace: one for your computer where you spend most of your time working, and another desk where you do non-computer stuff.

Here's another way to reduce clutter: I have my two computers, modem, router, and network storage devices on a separate piece of furniture. On my desk, I have only my screen, keyboard, speakers, and webcam.

“Our industry is enjoying fast-paced growth,” says professional organizer Sara Pedersen. “People have too much stuff, not enough space or time, and lack basic organizing skills. In addition, being a professional organizer is a relatively easy and flexible business to launch.”

“Productivity is all about efficiency-doing more, faster, and with less,” says David Lavenda, a vice president at productivity company “And with increasing demands from today's anytime, anywhere workplace, you need to focus on three segments of your life: time, space, and mindset”-three areas where organizers help their clients become more productive.

Not Just for Business Some professional organizers help clients get organized at home rather than at work.

Areas where personal/home organizers help clients get more organized include the home office or study, kitchen, cupboards, master bedroom, garages or store rooms.

You help clients organize storage areas, such as cupboards, garages, and kitchen cabinets. You also perform space planning activities to maximize both household storage capacity and usable living space. Another service offered by home organizers is to develop systems for organizing documents and data, such as deeds, titles, birth certificates, contractor receipts, and the like.

While neither professional nor home organizing may seem particularly hazard prone, you do need business insurance. You're in a client's home or business, where breaking things is a possibility; if in shuffling items around on the desktop, you knock over and break a piece of electronic equipment, you are liable.

A general liability policy covers property damage and bodily injury. It's even better to have professional liability insurance-also called errors and admissions-which protects you in case the client claims damage from bad advice. Many local insurance agents can find this coverage for you.

Training Can Be an Advantage While the law does not require professional organizers to have licenses, certifications, or training, it may make sense for you to acquire them. You don't need certification to get started.

You can get a good education on the basics by reading some of the books on professional organizing, including Born to Organize by Sara Pederson and Stephanie Winston's Best Organizing Tips by Stephanie Winston.

Marketing Your Organizing Services There are a variety of methods for successfully marketing yourself as a professional organizer:

Have a professional-looking website. There should be a call to action on the home page-a button or form the visitor can fill out to request more information on your services. Pay a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to optimize your website for the keyword phrase “professional organizer” in your town or county. That way, when people in your area look for a professional organizer on Google, they will find you first. Write how-to articles on various aspects of organization and personal productivity improvement for business magazines, trade journals, newspapers, and websites. Use the keyword phrase “professional organizer” multiple times in each article. Post all of your articles on an “Articles” page on your website. This will improve your search engine ranking on Google. Start a free monthly e-newsletter of organization, time management, and productivity tips. Have a sign-up box for subscribing to the newsletter on your home page. Whenever you write and publish articles, include the URL of the sign-up box or page in your bio and mention your free newsletter. Give free talks on organization, time management, and personal productivity to local business and civic organizations, especially local chapters of national trade associations whose members are businesspeople. A great place to get your feet wet as a speaker without feeling under pressure is to give a short talk on getting organized at your local library. When you give talks, get a copy of the video if you are being recorded. And if you are not, bring in someone to record it for you. Post clips from the video on your site and put the full presentation on YouTube. Write a special report or e-book on some facet of organizational skills. Put it into a PDF and make it available for download on your site. Require visitors to give you their name, phone number, and email address in exchange for giving them the free PDF. Then follow up to see whether they're interested in talking about hiring you. Consider writing a paperbound book like Stephanie Winston did. You can self-publish it or, like Winston, sell it to a mainstream publishing house. The former is easier while the latter is more prestigious. There are many social networks on which you can promote yourself as a professional organizer. The main ones to concentrate on are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you're interested in publishing visual content, such as images or videos of neatly organized drawers, etc., you should consider Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Start a business or personal productivity blog. Write two 500-word blog posts per week. Add a button on the blog home page where visitors can subscribe to your blog via RSS feed. Don't ignore word of mouth. Always carry business cards and pass them out liberally. Tell friends, relatives, colleagues, and neighbours about your new business as a professional organizer. A lot of people are disorganized and suffer as a result of it. The more people who find out about you, the more you will get hired. What to Do Next Lots of people need the help of an organizer, so here's one way to get a quick start:

Approach a friend or colleague whose desk is full of clutter and seems overwhelmed. Offer to help him or her get organized.

Instead of charging your regular rate for professional organizing, offer your services for free in exchange for a testimonial and a reference. If these people work for big companies with recognizable names, that's a plus.

Be sure to take as many “before” and “after” photos as you can so you can publish these stories on your website and social media channels.

Do this with two to three people. Now, when potential clients ask about your experience, you can name these people and their companies as your clients, and you can post their testimonials on your site to establish instant credibility. (No need to mention you did the work for free!)


Bob Bly

Extra Income Opportunity #29: Airbnb - Make Money Hosting Guests from around the World

The first time I heard of Airbnb was two years ago from my friend - Jeevandeep - who was visiting me after spending a year in the US. He told me about his solo trips and how he stayed with local people as he travelled around the country.

'Local people? How did you manage to stay with them?' I asked.

'I used Airbnb,' he replied.


'Yeah! It is a website where people can search for lodging and rent it,' he said.

'Oh, like a hotel booking website?'

'No, no! That's the fun part. It lets you to book accommodation in private homes. You stay with the local folks. It feels like you are actually living in the place…like a resident.' His enthusiasm was evident.

'Really? And who posts the accommodation?'

'Anyone! Whoever wants to become a host or make extra money… Even you could do it!'

Two months later, when I fell short of cash while buying a laptop, I remembered this conversation. There was some extra space in my flat, which I thought to rent.

I live in Mumbai. I knew I'd get guests easily. I had a small room and few amenities to offer, so I decided to charge a modest rent of Rs 1,500 per day.

I posted on Airbnb and a few days later hosted my first guest - Marien. He stayed for four days.

Within a month, I hosted four guests from different countries…and generated enough cash to bridge the gap between me and my laptop.

I realised that Airbnb was an interesting and convenient way to make extra income. Also, I got to interact with people from different cultures - a big cherry on top.

We can't travel the World all the time so hosting with Airbnb brings the World to us. - PP, Airbnb Host

Airbnb - In a nutshell Airbnb is a website where people can list, find, and rent lodging. It started in 2008, and how it came into existence is an interesting story.

In 2007, while living in San Francisco, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia - the founders - could not afford their apartment rent. So they transformed their living room into a bed and breakfast, accommodating three guests on mattresses and providing them homemade breakfast.

They were able to meet their rent and loved the experience of hosting visitors. And they thought others with extra space would too. So in February 2008, they partnered with Nathan Blecharczyk, a technical architect, to conceptualise a website called, through which others could list their own 'bed and breakfasts'.

The website officially launched on August 11, 2008. A year later, its name was shortened to Airbnb.Today the website has over a million accommodation listings in more than 30,000 cities and 190 countries.

Apart from the website, the company also offers the Airbnb application for iOS and android users. So you can also access it on mobile.

How to get started Start by deciding which part of your house you want to rent. It could be an entire apartment or a small corner with a cozy mattress.

Now visit the Airbnb website and click on 'Become a Host'. After entering your city, proceed to choose the space that you want to rent - an apartment, a room, or bed and breakfast. Also mention how many people you can accommodate at one time.

Forget not to add an intriguing and accurate description about your place. Also list the amenities that you will provide - wifi, TV, kitchen, etc.

Lastly you will be required to fill in the rent price for your space. Airbnb gives an estimated price of your space based on its size, location, and amenities. But you can choose your own amount.

If you think your place deserves more, don't hesitate in quoting more. The estimates on Airbnb are automated. They can't see how beautiful your place is! I rent out my penthouse for double their price. Because I give such services…and a lush terrace garden surrounds it. - NK, Mumbai

Once your listing goes live, you will start to receive request mails from prospective guests (assuming it is an attractive listing). You can choose to accept or reject each request.

Is this opportunity for you? Every extra income opportunity that we recommend has to meet certain parameters. Let's see if Airbnb passes the test.

Anyone should be able to do it Anyone who wants to become a host and knows how to use the internet can reap the benefits of this opportunity. The website is neat and simple to use, and so is the app. All you have to do is upload some identification for verification (such as a passport, driver's license, PAN card, etc), and you're ready to start renting.

You shouldn't need huge capital to start You need neither an office nor huge startup capital. All you need is to select a corner in your house and renovate it for guests. It should require minimum effort and investment. Then you need a computer, or even just a mobile, with an internet connection, and you're all sorted.

You can choose your work hours Airbnb allows you to select the days your space is available. You can choose to rent it out on weekends, holidays, or any time that is convenient for you. Even if you make it available full time, this shouldn't disrupt your regular schedule.

Most likely, your guests will be tourists and they won't need you around. You can appoint a family member or domestic help to greet your guests and make sure they are comfortable.

You should be able to generate a fair amount of cash If you live in a metro city like Delhi or Mumbai, you can easily rent out a room for Rs 2000-2500 per day. A lot of tourists, especially foreigners, visit metros because of the international airport. But if you live in a hill station, or any popular tourist place, you can also generate a good amount of money from Airbnb.

You get paid through Airbnb 24 hours after a guest's reservation is confirmed. Note that Airbnb is currently charging a 3% host service fee on your nightly rent. So if your nightly rent is Rs 1,000…you will get Rs 970 after deduction. You can learn more about the payment procedure here.

How to be a successful host A recent survey from Goldman Sachs revealed that tourists who use Airbnb don't want to go back to hotels.

I prefer to rent lodgings on Airbnb rather than booking hotels because it gives a personal touch to my travel. Staying with the locals is mesmerizing always. You come home with real experiences and warm memories. - JS, 26

Travel has become an important part of people's lifestyle. In the past decade, the tourism industry has seen substantial growth all over the world. According to the statistics, the number of tourist arrivals in India increased by a million in 2014.

Airbnb has proved its potential as a source of extra income. But remember, Airbnb has millions of hosts…so you already have competition. And there's only one way to stay ahead of them - through guest recommendations.

Airbnb encourages guests to submit reviews and comments after their stay. If your listing receives rave reviews, you will be listed higher than your competition when guests search for accommodation in your area.

Here are a few things you could do to become a recommended host on Airbnb.

Be honest Although many traits should be cultivated by a host, honesty is paramount. Post honestly about your accommodation. Write an intriguing description but don't bluff. Do not mention amenities that you won't provide. Provide genuine pictures of your place.

If there are any cons that guests should know, duly reveal them. Also provide transparent information to guests about your city and neighbourhood.

This ensures guests will not be disappointed and leave negative reviews.

Ask a fair price Feel free to ask for the price you think your place deserves…but don't be greedy. You can't charge Rs 20,000 for a small room with basic amenities. Be sure to check the prices of other hosts who provide similar accommodation and amenities.

The major factor that determines your price is your city and neighbourhood. You can charge a hefty rent if you reside in a tourist hotspot. But if you live in a regular town that doesn't have much traveller footfall, inflating the rent isn't a good idea.

Warm reception To welcome your guests warmly is must. Offer a cup of coffee or a cool drink. Ask a bit about them and their travel plans…and help him with whatever information you can.

Most travelers won't expect too much from you. They may even want you to leave them to rest, relax, and freshen up before they go out. Don't be nosy or force a conversation if they don't seem interested.

Airbnb is a fabulous concept that has brought people of distant lands together. Extra income is just one of the benefits. Perhaps the greatest benefit of Airbnb will be the exposure to other people and cultures and the global connections you make.

Extra Income Opportunity #30: Make Money By Becoming A Finance Coach

Today, when people want to get financial advice, they often find themselves floundering in search of an honest voice of reason. Most advisors are trapped in situations where they make money based on commissions, and instead of giving the honest advice they want to, they end up trying to push clients to buy financial instruments with the highest commission. It becomes, for them, rozi-roti ka sawaal.

As a result of this, however, mistrust of financial advisors is ubiquitous.

There's no question that India needs honest financial advisors. Our education system doesn't prepare us to make sound financial decisions. Most Indians don't start investing till quite late, and when they do, they often make rash decisions and burn their fingers.

Those who turn to 'advisors' for help, often end up with their money tightly bound up in instruments that seem like a noose around their neck, and they still struggle to meet their financial goals.

And how many of us feel our stomachs sink when we think of the 'R' word instead of smiling confidently in the knowledge that we have prepared well for our retirements?

(I should hope that every single Creating Wealth reader has their ideal Retirement planned out, and if you don't, please get on the job before any more time is lost.)

But now things are changing. People are starting to realise the importance of planning their finances. Their freedom, the quality of their lives, the value they can create in the world is all directly impacted by your financial decisions.

Now, India needs trusted financial advisors. This opportunity is on the brink of exploding. Not just a mutual fund salesman, not just a relationship manager, not just a financial consultant, but a trusted financial coach.

And you can become that person. The coaching industry in India is picking up at a rapid pace. With the changing nature of businesses and the demands of technology, leaders and executives are increasingly depending on an external coach to see them reach the next levels of success. An interesting article, authored by certified coach Dr Prakash V Bhide estimates the size of the coaching industry in India at approximately US$60 million. It also states that coaching has seen a '50% industry growth in recent years', thus making it 'a new entrepreneurial opportunity' for many. He goes on to say that this income opportunity is particularly undertaken by senior HR professionals, psychologists, retired CEOs and senior executives who bank on their long and successful industry experience…and designate themselves as an 'executive coach'.

As a financial advisor, you can set yourself apart by truly understanding the lives and goals of your clients. You are a life coach, helping them navigate the biggest events in their lives - changing jobs, educating children, starting businesses, and preparing for their golden years. And this opportunity doesn't end at working with clients. You can become a financial coach and begin speaking, coaching, and training. Rahul Jain founded Business Coaching India in 2004. An engineer and MBA by qualification, he left his lucrative job at Tata Motors to pursue entrepreneurship. Today he conducts workshops for several leading business houses and particularly helps them focus on doubling their profits and putting work structures in place.

Is This Opportunity for You? When Mark Ford began writing essays for the Extra Income series, he promised to show you dozens of ways to generate more cash. A tall order, for sure. To make good on that promise, Mark brainstormed for months and laid out the specific criteria each opportunity had to meet before we brought it to your attention. Let's review these criteria. We want to see how well becoming a financial advisor passes our litmus test…

First: Anyone should be able to do it (it's easy and simple to understand). In this profession, the barriers to entry are low. You need a cheap, easy-to-obtain certification that is available throughout the country. The certification qualifies you to offer or provide any investment advisory services as allowed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) or Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).

With regard to the SEBI-RIA certification requirement, you need to obtain both NISM Series-X-A: Investment Adviser (Level 1) as well as NISM-Series-X-B: Investment Adviser (Level 2) certification.

In case you wish to be certified only as a mutual fund distributor, you need to obtain NISM-Series-V-A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination and get an ARN.

There is no age limit to get NISM certification. For more details about NISM certification, you can visit

Second: You should be able to start every opportunity from the comfort of your own home. As a financial advisor, you do not need to rent an office, though some do. It is an ideal home business. You can meet with clients at your home or theirs. You can even conduct sessions via phone or Skype. In fact, Skype is an increasingly popular technology for coaches because it offers both voice and video, and you can access clients across the country. To use it, you of course need a computer, a high-speed internet connection, and a (free) Skype account.

Third: You can choose to work part time or on the weekends. You can work as much or as little as you desire by limiting the number of clients they accept. MD, with five years of experience, describes his full schedule as having ten clients for one-on-one consulting, plus a few online relationships. Some consultants take on as many clients as they can handle, while others cherry-pick their clients to create a part-time schedule.

Fourth: The opportunity should not require a tremendous amount of startup capital. The startup costs of this career are low, and there is almost no overhead. If you already have a computer and a Skype account, you can start your coaching practice for a few thousand rupees. Expenses such as business cards are minor. It's a good idea to have a website, as well. At Wealth Builders club we believe it is important to showcase yourself as transparently as you can to get clients, and we show you how to do that. If you choose to get listed as a Certified Financial Guardian, that will cost you another few thousand rupees

And fifth: You should be able to make Rs 1,500-2,500 per hour. You can charge by the hour, by the service, and even on a retainer where you charge an annual fee to manage your client's wealth. You can make a decent living as an advisor.

However, most financial advisors don't. And that brings us back to the issue we discussed before - trust.

People don't trust financial advisors. And that is simply because of how the system is set up. An unfair system.

Our own friends and financial advisors at PersonalFN do exactly this: empower Indians with superior financial planning skills. They exist to guide investors - transparently and without bias - on their journey to financial independence.

But even after all these years, the gap between the demand for genuinely good financial planning and the supply of capable advisors remains vast.

So now there are trusted financial advisors, and there are people who need them. How can they come together?

PersonalFN's latest initiative roused our interest.

They just launched an exclusive platform of financial advisors. It's for those of you who want to become a financial 'guardian' for lakhs of investors. And it's for those of you who've known the pain of misleading and unethical advisors.

A Certified Financial Guardian will be a symbol of honesty and commitment to the interests of investors and help build a long-lasting and trustworthy relationship between those who have the savings and need investment guidance - and those who can offer it.

Many of my Wealth Builders Club members have started new income opportunities for themselves. Some have started money-making websites, others have published books, still others like to teach, garden, or consult…

A large number of people also want to use their financial know-how to help others gain financial independence.

Members who have been investing for years…who've used their knowledge of wealth building to lead themselves and their families to financial independence…now want to use these skills to help others do the same.

This opportunity is for them.

Get certified, and get busy dispensing trust and financial independence to all those who need it.

Marketing Your Services Once you obtain some training and certifications, you need to recruit clients by marketing and selling your services. A good way to start is to notify everyone in your personal and social networks that you are now available to provide financial advice. Announce your new business on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. When Shriram turned forty, he gave himself a gift. He went and got certified as a financial advisor.

Now he can make money doing for others what he was already doing for his friends and family - dispensing investment advice.

But while he loves dispensing financial gyan, he finds that he has trouble finding clients.

He says almost all of his clients come through either referrals, word of mouth, or by completing a form on his website. He has also registered as a guardian so people who don't know him can trust him. He now travels throughout the country to attend conferences. When he visits a new city, he arranges to meet clients and prospects who live nearby.

Writing books, white papers, and articles - today known as content marketing - is an effective method of building your reputation as a go-to person for a general or specific market niche. The easiest way to get a book into the marketplace is to publish it as a Kindle ebook and sell it on Amazon (in the Wealth Builders Club, we show you how). Once you find potential clients, first get to know them and find out whether you have a rapport. Spends some time to get to know each prospect, and in some cases, offer an initial advising session at no cost.

Can You Guarantee Results When Giving Financial Advice? You cannot guarantee results. You can only understand the client's needs and advise the client on the best path for them to take. In most cases, you do not do the actual work; the client does that. It is up to your clients to follow your advice to become successful. And whether they do it or not, or even how well they do it, is beyond your control. Make agreements that define what the advisor and client are each responsible for doing.

What to Do Next As a regular reader of Creating Wealth and Mark Ford's Wealth Builders Club materials, your wealth building philosophy is based on solid, tried-and-tested ideas. If you want to brush up on the basics of investment, you will benefit from Equitymaster's investment ideas.

Consider joining the Certified Financial Guardian platform to give yourself the stamp of 'ethical advisor'. With this platform, you will not only meet clients but other financial advisors who are further along in their careers than you. Their guidance and advice on building a successful practice can be invaluable. And the training offered by PersonalFN can accelerate your learning. As you go about finding your clients, remember that each will be different and will present unique challenges to you. But as you work with them and help them achieve their goals, I am sure you will find outstanding rewards.

Extra Income Opportunity #31: Use Fiverr to Realise Your Freelance Dreams

The first time I heard of Fiverr, I didn't understand what it meant.

'If you write such good poetry, why don't you try selling it on Fiverr?' my friend remarked.

'Sorry? Try selling it on…what?' it seemed to me as if I had heard some alien language.

'On Fiver… F-I-V-E-R-R', my friend spelled it for me. 'Look it up online.'

Fiverr is a global online marketplace for services that begin at a cost of 5 dollars per job - from which the platform gets its name. '

'Fiver' stands for a five-dollar (or pound) bill in North America and Britain. A service offered on Fiverr is called a 'gig'.

The platform is a hub for all kind of small jobs or 'gigs' - writing, translating, editing, sketching, drawing, graphic design, digital marketing, animation, voice over, sound effects, logo design and animation, web programming, e-commerce, astrology, makeup and styling, advertising, lifestyle and private tips…the list goes on. As the company says on its homepage: What do you need done? Find it on Fiverr.

And you can… Fiverr lists approximately three million gigs that start from $5 and go up to $995.

More interestingly, according to a report by Forbes, there are freelancers who make six figure amounts (in dollars) a year on Fiverr as it is an expansive platform, and there's no ceiling to the amount of work one can generate.

If you always wanted to be your own boss, or dreamt to set sail as a freelancer…Fiverr could be your starting point.

Akshaya joined Fiverr in 2013. He says, 'It was my first experience as a freelancer, and it was good. Fortunately, I got my first order the day I posted my gig. Back then Fiverr didn't have rating system, it just had 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' options after a gig was delivered.

'I mostly got a thumbs up from my client… They'll be happy if you do a good job.'

Three years down the line, Akshaya lives a 'digital nomad' life; one of his steady sources of income is Fiverr.

You can also use the platform to generate some extra income while pursuing your day job, or your business startup.

Here is an overview as to how can you get started and grow on Fiverr, and to check if it's the right opportunity for you.

How to Get Started When my friend suggested that I try Fiverr, I went to the Google Play Store and downloaded the Fiverr app (available on iOS too).

Also, I visited the website. It had a 'Start Selling' button on the right.

You can create an account with your email, and start selling your services on Fiverr.

Fiverr works in three simple steps.

Step 1: Create a Gig Creating a gig on Fiverr is easy. You only need to be extremely clear about the service that you are offering. You need to say exactly what service you will offer, and the shorter and crisper your description, the better your chances of getting buyers' attention.

My first gig was simple. Because I had travelled a lot in the northern parts of India, I decided to help travellers with their itineraries.

I explained my service in a few simple words: I will create the perfect itinerary for your Himalayan travel.

If you are a writer who plans to write and sell birthday greetings on Fiverr, your gig could be 'I will write birthday wishes for your loved ones.'

If you are a designer, it could be 'I will create an attractive logo for your company.'

And so on!

While creating a gig, don't forget to write a little about yourself and your past experiences in the field. Also, mention what details you require from the buyer in order to meet his expectations.

At the end, you can put a price for your gig…which could be anywhere between $5 - $995. However, if you are a beginner…keep your prices low, or at a basic $5 (Rs 350). You can hike your fees after getting good reviews from buyers.

Step 2: Deliver good work Once you receive an order, you will get notified through an email or app. Fiverr enables you to communicate with your client through their system. Thus, you can talk to him and learn about his needs.

To build a reputation and get good reviews, deliver your services on time. And make sure you do the best job you can.

Step 3: Get paid Once you complete the order, you get paid via PayPal. Fiverr charges a commission of 20% on your fee. You can then take on other orders.

Is this opportunity for you? Every opportunity that we write about is thoroughly researched by our team, and only when it meets certain parameters do we put it forth to our Club members. Let's see how freelancing on Fiverr passes our litmus test.

Anyone should be able to do it Fiverr is simple and easy to understand. Anyone who understands English could operate the website and the app. Fiverr offers over three million services currently, and a large number of freelancers around the globe are using the website to generate a monthly income.

The website is convenient to use and sell your gigs.

You should be able to pursue it from the comfort of your home Being an online platform, Fiverr completely enables you to work from wherever you want. Your home could be your office, or a secluded beach in some quiet country, or the hill station that you love.

As long as you have a good internet connection, and the hardware/software tools that are needed for your gig: you could work from any place.

You can choose your work hours On Fiverr, you can choose the amount of work you want to do. When you sign up and make your gig available to buyers, you give them an estimated time of delivery (or in how many days will you deliver the order). Normally, you can deliver in three to seven days.

Hence, you get enough time to execute your order, and you're able to choose your work hours.

The opportunity mustn't require a huge amount of capital You don't need a huge investment to get started on Fiverr. You don't need to invest in an office space, furniture, decor, etc. All you need is a laptop (and a smartphone, which people generally have nowadays) with a good internet connection.

You must be equipped with the software tools and applications required in your job. For example, if your gig is to write CVs…you must have a variety of templates for all kinds of professions. A chartered accountant's resume has to look different than a creative writer applying for a job in an advertising agency.

You must invest in the pro-versions of software and applications you'd require; you can't afford to do a bad job on Fiverr. It would only attract a bad review from the buyer…and on a platform like Fiverr, every review matters.

You should be able to make a good sum of money in limited hours On Fiverr, you can offer three versions of your service at three different prices.

These versions depend on the time of delivery and size of the assignments. For example, if you're a voice-over artist, you can charge more as the length of the script increases.

What works is that you decide exactly the amount of work you are going to do for those 5 bucks. For instance, I wouldn't write 500 words for that kind of money, and most of my customers wanted articles of that extension. So I started offering 200 word articles for US$ 5, and they would pay $15 in order to get one article. - M, a writer on Fiverr

In the same way, you can offer swift deliveries and charge more for the same.

If you complete two orders in two hours, charging $10 for each, you can easily make Rs 1,500.

Goes without saying, this number increases with time and good customer reviews.

How to grow on Fiverr The majority of Fiverr users are sellers, not clients…therefore a cut-throat competition prevails on the platform.

While your growth will directly depend on the quality of your work and seller-rating, here are a few things you could do as a beginner.

Choose what you do best Probably the wisest thing you could do is…choose a job in which you excel. When a close friend of mine joined the platform - a good photographer, video editor, and scriptwriter; he chose to do writing gigs instead of photography.

He realised that he possessed good photography skills, but he was better with the pen. Moreover, he had a screenwriting diploma from FTII which formed the backbone of his profile.

Soon he started receiving several kinds of writing assignments. His major assignment came when he was asked to adapt a British novella into a screenplay.

Hence, it is important that you realise what could you do better than others. It will help you stay ahead of competition.

Flaunt your certifications and credibility When you are selling gigs on Fiverr, you are dealing with strangers in a virtual world…who won't place their confidence in you until you prove your skill and credibility. It could be done in two ways: a) show them you're qualified to do the gig, and b) show them good ratings from other buyers.

If you're a beginner, good reviews will take time to pour in; you must always exhibit your qualifications and experience - only they will increase your chances of getting orders when you don't have any ratings.

Competitive pricing On a platform like Fiverr, unreasonably high prices may reduce your chances of receiving orders…especially when someone else is doing the same job at a lower price. Amid cut-throat competition, the price of your services play a big role in determining your success or failure.

As a beginner, you should keep your prices at a basic level - so that nobody hesitates in trying your services.

Deliver on time Once you get an offer, do your best and deliver on (or preferably before) the deadline. If your period of delivery is seven days, try to complete your gig and deliver it beforehand. Nothing pleases the buyer as much as receiving his order in advance. He'll gladly recommend you to others for your prompt services.

And nothing beats good ratings in online marketplace.

If you're looking for a get rich quick scheme, you're not going to find it here. (But) you can sell gigs on Fiverr and generate a steady income from it. - NS, a freelancer on Fiverr

If you're a 9-5 worker who secretly wants to devour the shackles and travel the world, Fiverr can help you break free. If you want to tap into extra income opportunities by doing micro jobs, Fiverr is the place to turn to! If you harbour a passion for writing, sketching, etc…pursue it professionally.

Fiverr is a platform where opportunities are unlimited…all you need to do is get started.

Extra Income Opportunity #32: Earn More by Reading Books - Become a Literary Agent

I've had a one-off experience being a literary agent. It happened almost six years ago. I was approached by an Indian novelist based in the UK who asked me to find him a publisher for his debut novel. He is currently a best-selling author, with three novels under his belt… His name is Vish Dhamija and if you buy a copy of his first novel, Nothing Lasts Forever, you'll find my name in the acknowledgements at the beginning.

He got my reference from a common connect. When he first wrote me asking if I would be his literary agent, I had no clue about the processes it involved. But since I had some time to spare, I told him I would do what I could. I had a fairly good network, and even knew some publishers. But finally the publisher who published the first edition of his book, was not from my previous contacts.

I simply went to a bookstore, looked for publishers of a similar genre and pitched it to them. And just to inform you, the publisher who made him an offer was the last one I approached. I had written to many publishers with not much success. Both Vish and me had almost given up on finding a suitable publisher for his book… But at the last moment it all came through!

When novelists talk about rejection, I now understand what they go through. The whole fight to get published can be a daunting one. And that's why the role of a literary agent is so crucial… A literary agent is the one who takes on the arduous job of finding a publisher for the novelist. The novelist can then focus on getting other aspects of the book right, like the editing, proofing cover design, or even finishing the writing of the book, if that's not done yet.

Back then in India literary agents were few and far between. And there were no clear structures in place about payments etc. So I struck a deal with Vish, saying I would charge him a flat fee of x amount only if someone picked up his book. In the rest of the world, literary agents get a commission from the signing amount for the book, and even a percent of the royalty in some cases. Nowadays, that trend is catching on in India too, with several literary agencies working on a similar business model.

In this essay, I will give you some tips and strategies you would need to venture into this extra income opportunity. But first…

What does a literary agent do? A literary agent is one who helps find and solicit a publisher for a novelist. The agent helps negotiate the deal, and nowadays even helps with the promotional activities post publication of the book.

Agents can also help grow a market if the novel has already been published. For example, they could find regional publishers who would publish vernacular versions of the novel, or maybe find foreign publishers who could open up a whole new geographical market for an existing novel. Additionally - a common phenomenon nowadays - they could also help pitch a novel to be adapted into a film or television script.

Note, as an agent you needn't be an editor of the book too. If you have the skill, great… It's a service you can add. If not, networking and deal-making is the only skill you need. Editors can be outsourced if the novelist requires one. Publishing houses that take on the book also undertake one round of editing, so that aspect gets taken care of eventually.

What does a literary agent need to start out? As a literary agent, the most basic quality you need is a passion for books. You should be an avid reader who is familiar with different genres of writing and familiar with the popular novelists of your time. This will help you understand if the novelist approaching you has written a book of some literary value and if it has any 'bestseller' appeal.

Also, as an agent you will need to build a network in the publishing industry. If you attend literary fests in your city, you may bump into both publishers and authors there. Literary fests also give insight into the publishing trends for the year.

At other times, connecting with a publisher can be done by simply writing to the editorial desks at publishing houses. Introduce yourself saying you are representing a particular author of a particular genre; it could be romantic fiction, crime fiction etc. The first mail you send out should have a brief author profile and a synopsis of the proposed novel. This is normally drafted by the author and sent to you when he approaches you or 'queries' you on being an agent.

If the publisher shows any interest, you could then forward the first three chapters (maximum three chapters) of the manuscript, or as requested. Only when the publisher asks for the complete manuscript, should you request your client (the novelist) to send the whole manuscript. Don't send it at the beginning under any circumstances.

Some publishers also have online forms to be filled, along with which you can attach the synopsis and the first chapter of the manuscript. You can do this for your client or guide your client on how to do the same.

How do you price your client, the author? Reputed agents will not ask for a reading fee or an editing fee, these are normally built into the commission you receive as an agent. But how do you decide on the commission? Most international agents charge at least 10-15% of the signing amount that the author receives.

In India this may work differently, you could either charge one consolidated fee for your services, or you could ask for a percent of the royalty decided for the author, because a signing fee tends to be rare if you are getting a new novelist published.

Additionally, you could create a bouquet of services like editing, assistance in promotions, etc and find more ways to earn from that one deal. But this also means more time and effort given to the project at hand. You may have to go along for book reading and signing sessions, help plan out a social media strategy, and generally be the author's best friend post the release of the book.

Literary agents are a new phenomenon for India but as the number of writers and books increases every year, you may see this breed of entrepreneurs growing and profiting much more. Moreover, diverse voices means diverse representation, and if you find a nice niche for yourself, it could just become a lucrative business for you too.

extra-income.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/18 16:10 by