Side Hustle Case Study: How A Mom Of Five Made $2,653 (In Recurring Revenue) With A New Side Project
Originally published on the Strikingly Blog
Today we’re going to show you how a mom of five managed to create a thriving side business that generates $2,653 of recurring monthly income in less than 5 months.
And she manage this despite:
- Having been let go from her job of 3 years
- Being a mom to 5 kids
- And with only a 300 Euro investment
In this study we’ll walk you through the exact steps and process that she used so you can do the same yourself.
What is a ‘Side Business’?
A side business is something you can do in your spare time.
A business you can build for very little (to no) overhead, and work on just a few hours per night, to earn a little extra cash.
‘Side Hustles’, or Side Businesses, have become increasingly popular in the past few years with people starting subscription box businesses, consulting services, flipping items on EBay, and more.
It’s probably due to the fact to how easy it’s now become to pursue hobbies — and other side projects — that bring you satisfaction.
Everyone from retirees to young kids (who’ve barely hit tween status) are setting themselves up to earn more and leverage their attention online.
It’s a great feeling to be able to have some extra cash to be able to treat yourself.
But the thing is, no one thinks they might suddenly have to depend on their side business to pay the bills…
…until the rug gets pulled from under you.
Just ask Teri Morris.
How Teri Morris Generated $1,008 with her Side Business (In 1 Week)
Teri Morris is the founder of ImpulseHub a site that teaches and helps small to mid-sized businesses, build and improve their website, using Strikingly.
Now don’t get us wrong.
Site building (as we should know) is a hugely competitive business.
That’s thousands of competitors worldwide.
But even though Teri is based in Ireland, the local competition is still steep.
There are at least 1,000 potential customers searching each month. And at around $12 per click, it would be quite costly to compete with paid advertising.
But that’s not even the worst part.
Teri worked in the IT industry for a combination of 18 years when suddenly her company was bought out, and her department was let go.
So much for job security, right?
And as a 56 year old mom of 5, out on a farm in Ireland, she knew she needed to do something.
Inspired by ‘The Lean Startup’ movement, Teri knew she had no time to overthink and worry.
In Teri’s words:
She had to get into action and sell something.
- She has a recurring income of close to $3,000 per month. By next year she will be making her previous IT salary of $55,000 (a 53% revenue increase). But this time, on her own terms.
- She has quickly become the “go-to-person”, and an authority figure, in her field amongst small to mid-sized business owners in Ireland.
- She now has more free time to travel and spend time with her husband and kids.
- In less than 1 year of starting, she will be scaling her business, and building a team, to take on clients overseas.
Teri didn’t run Ad Campaigns or think about SEO strategy to get these results.
The framework is much simpler than you think. But the main focus is on her execution.
STEP 1: GET GOING LEAN. GET GOING FAST.
Teri didn’t magically start at $2,653+ per month.
She had to take a few steps to get there. But she took the smartest steps, for the fastest results.
She didn’t get distracted by making an appointment with her accountant to set up her business, or worry about getting her business cards printed, or what her logo would look like.
Putting to the test her entrepreneurial chops, in 2 different businesses in the past, she knew the common pitfalls of “doing work that actually mattered” VS. “the illusion of work”.
One makes a difference in your bank account tomorrow.
The other keeps you distracted from the real work that needs to be done. (Hint: finding paying customers)
It’s crazy how many people ignore this point.
Teri was in IT for 18 years, and was used to getting requests from customers about building a website.
So coupled with a raving review from Seth Godin about Strikingly, her past entrepreneurial experiences, and her work in IT — an idea sparked.
She decided to offer a paid, in-person workshop, called “Website in An Hour” where she would teach business owners how to build their website using Strikingly. In Teri’s words:
“I felt like I could do anything [with Strikingly]. A good bit more than with other tools without having to know a lot of technical details behind it”.
She reached out to business owners she knew wanted to build their own website, and offered a boutique, limited seating workshop, of just 5 people at 60 Euros/person.
If the event sold and people liked it, then she would grow it from there.
And as you can imagine — yes, it was wildly successful.
She ended up doing 3 workshops, in 1 week, at 3 different locations (!!!).
[(60 Euros per person x 5 people)] x 3 locations = 900 Euros
900 Euros = $1,007.58 USD
Teri didn’t run an intricate Facebook Ad campaign to find her first 15.
It was phone calls and warm emails.
It was her feet hitting the pavement.
And this is excellent news!
Because it means you can do the same.
Other than the obvious hustle here are some things she kept in mind, from the beginning.
- She intentionally kept the class size small, 4–5 people, so she could give individual attention to each student.
- She was so invested in the success of her students, and empowering them to build their website on their own, that she would stay an extra 3 hours with each student — if need be — to answer any additional questions they may of had.
- Teri made sure to keep her students focused on building websites that resulted in an action from the visitor — whether they be collecting emails, scheduling an appointment, walking into the brick and mortar, getting pre-orders, etc.
“In short, [it] should help their business grow”. -Teri Morris
So where do you start (with minimum fuss)?
1. Write down what people are asking you for, that you can charge for. Everyone has a skill.
And if you can’t really think of anything — ask your friends, “Hey! What are some skills that you think I’m pretty good at”?
2. After you’ve pinpointed a skill (let’s say you chose “Teaching Google Docs, Spreadsheets, & Slides”) — Create a PayPal link.
You know you might have something when you get 5 sales.
Now how do you setup a PayPal Link?
1. Open your PayPal Account and Select “Request Money”.
2. Enter in the Person’s Email Address and Select ‘Next’
3. Enter in your dollar amount, the reason they’re paying for your services, and hit “Request Money”.
NOTE: Don’t worry about getting the price right in the beginning. Worry about getting paying customers. You can always raise your prices later.
The 5 people paid you. Huzzah!
Now you need to setup the time and place for everyone to meet.
You can do this by text or email OR you can start a Facebook Group.
How to set up a Facebook Group
1. Log into Facebook and on the left side panel, under “Create”, select “Group”.
2. Create the group name, add their email address, change the group from “Closed Group” to “Secret Group” (or you can keep it as is — up to you).
3. Select “Create”.
Then fill in all the necessary information the group needs to attend your workshop:
- The Date
- The Time
- The Place
- Directions on how to get there (it’s always an added bonus)
- Briefly what they’re going to learn
- How they can contact you (e.g., if they get lost, or they’re running late, etc.)
- If they need to bring any materials
- What materials you will be providing
Again, you could email them — but it builds a sense of camaraderie amongst the other Facebook group members that, “We’re in this together. Let’s do this buddy!”.
Work in Reverse
You have the skill you’re selling? Check.
You have your paying customers? Check.
You have the Facebook Group Setup? Double Check.
Now it’s time to jump into the “meat and potatoes” of your workshop.
What you’re going to be teaching them.
When planning your workshop:
Know the End Game of Your Workshop Before You Begin.
While you’re writing your course format, keep this in mind:
“They will come to the workshop and will leave knowing how to do [this], [this], and [this]”!
And then plan your workshop backwards from that end result.
Are you going to get it ‘perfect’ the first time? Probably not.
The curriculum could be too long, and exhausting, for the attendees.
Perhaps some lessons were too brief.
Read the room. Are some people just looking confused?
You tweak the content based on their feedback.
And it gets closer to ‘perfect’ from there.
But STARTING and getting over that “first-timers fear” will be a huge step in you, and your workshop’s, development.
STEP 2: HOW TO BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION
After a few months of Teri’s in-person workshops, word spread quickly about her services.
And through word-of-mouth (via her past students):
“Teri Morris’s Website in an Hour class blew me away. Her experience and ease of building a great looking website has convinced me to never use WordPress again! With just a couple of hours working with Teri, you will have created a page that you’d easily pay thousands of dollars for someone to build for you. I highly recommend Teri and this course.”
- Jeff. Reno, Nevada
She started to get requests about people wanting to attend her course.
But it was too far for them to travel.
The solution was simple for Teri.
She started an online workshop called, “Website in a Week”, that is
completely done through Facebook Group and Webinars. This helped her to scale up and be available to more people.
All the criteria is very similar to the “Website in an Hour”
To have the lessons really sink in, she would have the students come to the Facebook Page every day.
Accomplish a microtask towards their website.
And by the end of that weekend, they would have a website built for their business.
And get this.
She still keeps the classroom size small. Having no more than 12 seats available per session.
She’s more concerned about the quality of the workshop and wants to ensure that one-on-one engagement, which builds:
- And Reinforces that she’s not in it for the “quick buck”.
Teri is well aware that she can have hundreds of students per session, but that goes against her customer centric methodology of — “treating every client as your only client”.
How can you put in the foundational work to building a relationship with your clients?
After the “Website in an Hour” or “Website in a Week” workshop is over, Teri moves that segmented group (of 5 or 12) over to her main Facebook Page, “Zero to Hero Webclub” — where she can continue to engage with her students, answer any questions, and brand herself as the “go-to person” for building a website.
Here she would:
- Prompt them to always have their mind thinking about how they can push their business forward, i.e., Mondays are #moveitmonday
- Post Marketing/Website Building Tips
- And recommend affiliate offers and services she has tested, trusts, and recommends.
What else could you do?
- Obviously, provide the above-and-beyond service that will make people WANT to talk about you to their friends, family, colleagues, etc.
“Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell 4 to 6 people about their experience. So that’s a way to significantly influence the word of mouth about your business”.
- Brian Honigman
- Hold Facebook Live FAQs
- Provide them with actionable tips.
You can use Canva — either the iOS app or laptop — to design the images for these posts. Or you could even record and post these tips via video.
- Hold a webinar showing them how to produce 1 specific result, or a quick win.
- Write long, step-by-step, hyper detailed articles — about a subject they want to learn more about.
There are probably even more ways you can think of building that foundation, online, with your clientele.
These suggestions were just to help get your wheels turning.
STEP 3: HOW TERI DETERMINED HER PRICES
When Teri first started her workshops, the ONLY goal was to teach her attendees how to build a website for their business’.
She was so focused on that goal, that it was a bit of a surprise when 40–50% of her students, from each class, started to ask her afterwards, “Can you just build this website for me”?
This is in her wheelhouse, so of course she agreed!
Next thing you know, she was building 2 websites per month — pricing her services multiple times more than her class admission.
But before Teri could pinpoint her pricing, she needed to figure out how to add even more value to her customers to justify her prices.
For Teri, she looked at her competitors and looked at what they were doing. On top of that, she got a massive amount of feedback from her students.
After she sorted out all this information, she was able to tailor offer a great deal of value, to her clients.
Here are some examples of the value she offered:
It can take up to 8 Months, and a few thousand dollars, for a traditional website building firm to provide the final product.
Can you imagine the frustration?
This company is stalling my business for 8 months — which is missed revenue — because the design company is slow or backed up?
So, Teri makes it a point to let her clients know that they will have their website in a month, or usually, less.
PLAIN & SIMPLE. IN BLACK & WHITE.
Usually when we create a landing page or website we’re thinking about design first.
We’re thinking about the colors…the fonts…the logo…
To remove this “distracting factor” in her clients decision making — she came up with a plan. Black & White wireframing.
When Teri first sits down with a client she finds out their business goals, then creates a wireframe from pen and paper.
This way her client:
- Thinks about the business goals of their website
- They’re thinking about the necessary elements and flow of the website
- They know the game plan moving forward
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Let’s lay down the facts.
- Teri is working with small-to-medium sized business owners.
- She offers faster service, than the traditional means.
- She’s hyperfocused on providing a website that will move your business forward, than just building a “pretty” website.
She’s officially differentiated herself from her competition.
In the beginning, she priced herself “at-cost” so she could learn more about what price range she should be in.
Now that she knows how to provide such a great amount of value, to her niche, she’s more confident in creating a reasonable pricing menu of her services.
HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT YOUR PRICING?
First you have to figure out what services your students want to learn next.
It’s usually a side pivot to something you’re already teaching them.
- You can ask your students what they would like to learn next.
And you can do this in the Facebook Group you set up.
Why is this approach favorable?
It has a tendency to get a discussion going within the group.
- You could go on Quora and see what people are asking/answering in the forum.
1. Type in a broad term, like “Google Docs”.
2. Take notes on the questions and responses people have given.
You can check out other related topics and, again, take notes on the questions and responses.
Spend 30–60 minutes on this forum and take notes on the questions people ask. You’ll start to see a pattern of the same questions and answers being asked — over and over again.
1) “How do you create spreadsheets in Google Docs to help organize your financials”?
2) “How do you write mathematical equations and formulas in Spreadsheets”?
3) “I just want to organize my business’ accounts. I have way too much information floating around in too many physical folders. I need to centralize all this information. Does anyone have any experience creating spreadsheets for their business”?
I was on Quora for 20 minutes to find these.
People want to know how to use Spreadsheets to organize their financials personally and professionally.
- You can send them a questionnaire via Google Forms (I know, ironic right?)
Asking them key questions like:
- What’s your biggest challenge using Google Docs, Slides, or Spreadsheets?
- What’s something you wish you could do RIGHT NOW in Google Docs, Slides, or Spreadsheets?
- What’s your preferred method of learning (reading, podcasts, video, hands-on practice, others)?
With this information, you’ll be able to narrow down those other services that your students will GLADLY give you money for.
What they’re buying is not a service, they’re buying a solution to a problem.
STEP 4: THE STRUCTURE OF YOUR LANDING PAGE
Because Teri had already held a few workshops, and had talked with each of her students. She would hear their stories of — their struggles (in life and business), what they hoped to accomplish with their website, and more.
This is powerful information, coming straight from your ideal customer.
And it’s this dialogue that you can use, to connect with your audience, when creating the landing page for your business.
So let’s break down the anatomy of your landing page that will turn a visitor into a paid customer — like Teri’s did.
Section 1: The Hero Section
This is where you have your Call to Action (or CTA) offer that is directly related to your visitors pain points.
It can be a signup form, a contact form, a download button, a coupon, etc.
Your offer should be directly related to why the visitor came to your landing page in the first place.
Section 2: Plain Text Section
This section lets your visitors know that you understand their pain points and that you can help.
2–3 sentences, max, explaining why they’re here. Address some of their pain points and how you will help solve them.
Section 3: Rows & Columns Section
This is where you’re going to share the BENEFITS of the service you are selling, not just the features themselves.
Section 4: The Store
This is the section, obviously, where you will list out your services.
Pick a price tag and stick with it.
Section 5: Content in Rows Section
This is where you talk about where you’ve been featured, the awards you have won, testimonials, etc. This builds trust with your audience. This is called ‘social proof’.
Section 6: The Hero Section
Repeat the CTA, again, adding a little urgency to the offer.
TERI’S SUCCESS IS NO ACCIDENT
Teri has become the #1 Strikingly Expert and Website Builder, for small to mid-sized companies in Ireland, in less than a year.
All of the time Teri has spent building business relationships with her clients in webinars, workshops, and entrepreneur meetups — has made her so popular that she is now expanding her team to handle local clients, as well as, building to take on clients overseas.
Many times, success stories don’t highlight the time spent on shaking hands at meetups.
The time spent on answering questions in Facebook groups.
The hours spent with each student after a workshop — working with them one-on-one.
Or the time spent away from their family.
The key to Teri’s success is that she invested more time, than money, in developing relationships with her students and potential clients — both online and offline.
Teri has proven:
- That the “foot-to-the-pavement” method
- Building relationships
- Giving over the top value with knowledge & expertise
- And overall, ‘going deeper, not wider’ with her current audience
is still a winning strategy for building a successful business today.
If you’re looking to add a “cushion of security”, pay off a debt, make some extra money to pocket away for a vacation or a new house, or maybe you want to take a crack at entrepreneurship — and doing things your way.
We just gave you one, of many, layouts on how to do just that.
Now this, partly, started because of Seth Godin.
So, let’s end it with a quote by him:
“…stick to the work, to the smallest possible audience, to building something worth talking about.
What actually works in a noisy environment isn’t more noise — it’s the challenging work of earning the benefit of people telling people.
We don’t need more hustle. We need more care and generosity”.
— Seth Godin
CALL TO ACTION
CLICK HERE to view the landing page video series where we walk you through how to create a landing page, FROM SCRATCH, covering everything from design to copywriting.