How To Earn Your First $100 Online This Weekend

Start Earning Online – Lesson 7

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Watch the video or scroll down to read this lesson instead.

In this lesson you’re going to learn how to earn your first $100 online this very weekend.

This builds on everything you’ve learned in previous lessons, so if you missed out on those, definitely go back and read through them first.

Now, the question is:

How do we actually find those people, those clients, who are happy to pay someone like you to do some work for them online? And how do we convince them that YOU are the right person for the job?

You use these 3 methods:

  1. The Billboard Method
  2. The Door-To-Door Method
  3. The Classified Method

I recommend you use all three methods this weekend to secure your first clients and start making money online.

BUT!

It’s very important to use these methods in the order listed above.

Let’s go through them one at a time and I’ll explain what they are and how you can use them.

1. The Billboard Method

Before I show you how this works, you need to know about Molly.

Molly is a young lady from the UK I met through a mutual friend last year when I was spending a couple of weeks in Chiang Mai in Thailand.

We went out for a group dinner – photographed above – and Molly was a friend of a friend who came along and we ended up sitting next to each other. (She’s third from the right in the photo, and I’m on the far right there with the big mad head on me.)

During that dinner Molly told me that just a year earlier she was stranded in rural India with no online business and only £17 left in her bank account.

And then she used the Billboard Method.

A few days later she had over £1000 in her bank account.

When I met her in Thailand, only twelve months later, she was still going strong. She had become fully location independent, thanks to her thriving online business.

So what is this Billboard Method that Molly used to break through and earn £1000 in less than a week?

Well, I call it the Billboard Method because the basic idea is that you put up a nice billboard advertising your availability for online freelance work, and you display it in a public place where lots of people are likely to see it.

Now clearly putting up a traditional billboard…

Like this

…clearly that is not realistic. 2

What we’re talking about here is the online equivalent of a traditional billboard.

Which is, as you can probably guess: social media.

Places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, with all their traffic, are the online equivalent of busy streets and highways.

And your posts on there are like billboards.

And that’s what Molly used to find her first clients and earn more than £1000 online in less than a week… it was all down to a single post on social media.

In her case, it was Facebook, and she kindly shared with me a screenshot of that post:

Find Freelance Clients: Molly Facebook post

Now I don’t recommend you copy that word for word, but here a few things from it that are worth emulating:

  • Molly included a nice photo of herself, making it much more personable and attention-grabbing.
  • The post was friendly and informal. Even though she only had £17 left in her bank account, she didn’t come across desperate or looking for a favor. Instead she came across as a friendly freelancer offering her services to folks on Facebook.
  • The post was short and sweet. She stated what service she had to offer, noted that her prices were competitive, and told anyone interested to get in touch.

That’s it.

So the first thing you’re going to do as part of our step-by-step plan to find your first clients is post something similar to Molly on whichever social network you’re most active on.

Post it up there, then wait and see who expresses interest in working with you.

That is the Billboard Method and it’s something you can do in 20 minutes or less, including the time required to take a nice friendly photo of yourself.

It’s the quickest and easiest of our three methods to execute, yet it can achieve very powerful results. That’s why I recommend you try it first.

But you don’t ONLY want to use the Billboard Method. You want to give yourself as many chances as possible to land some paid work this weekend. So let’s move on now to the second method you can use to find your first clients…

2. The Door-To-Door Method

To show you how this method works, let me tell you about Karl.

Karl is a freelance writer. He spent a few hours doing the Door-To-Door Method and shared his results with me:

As you can see there, after just a few hours of using this method, Karl had landed two paying gigs and had a lead on several more.

You can do the same thing this weekend.

Here’s how you do it.

First, sit down and make a list of at least 50 people you know and who know you.

You’re going to make that list, and then you’re going to spend a couple of hours reaching out to those people individually. You’re going to tell them what service you’re offering and ask if they have a need for that service or can put you in touch with someone who does.

I call this the Door-To-Door Method because you’re doing the technological equivalent of going around your neighborhood and knocking on doors to try drum up business.

Kinda like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…

But, you know, without trying to murder anyone.

So again, there are two key parts to this method:

  1. Making the list
  2. Reaching out

There are some very important nuances to both of those, so let’s run through them quickly.

Making The List

Ideally, the people on your list should:

  • Like and trust you.

Because it’s much easier to sell your services to, or recruit help from, people who already like and trust you. So only reach out to people who you’re already on good terms with.

  • Be people you are in frequent contact with.

You don’t want to be reaching out to people you haven’t been in contact with for several months or even years. If you do that, they’re likely to think to themselves, “Oh, I see how it is. You only contact me when you need a favor.”

If you’re not very good at keeping in touch with people, then I recommend you get good at it. Because as a friend of mine likes to say, business is a game of relationships. The person with the best relationships, with the most high-quality relationships, has a massive advantage.

  • Be business owners (or be able to connect you with business owners).

Your ideal clients will usually be business owners, for the simple reason that they are going to be much more professional, and they’re going to understand the concept of Return On Investment, which means they’ll usually be willing to pay a fair rate for your services.

The alternative is to work for a hobbyist, and hobbyists usually don’t have much skin in the game, they usually don’t have much of a budget, and they’re usually very disorganized.

So aim to connect with business owners as much as possible. You’re a professional, and you want to work with other professionals.

Reaching Out

Once you’ve made a list of 50+ people who fit those criteria, it’s time to start reaching out.

Mostly you’ll want to do this by email (or something like Facebook messenger) so you can get through the entire list in a few hours.

Here’s an email template that you can use to help ensure you get the best response.

Subject: Quick question

Hello Phileas,

I hope all’s well with you.

Any chance you could do me a small favor?

The past few months I’ve been working and studying hard to become a web designer. I’m at the point now where I feel confident in taking on some clients and providing a great service.

Here’s where you come in:

Can you think of anyone who might require help building a website? And if so, would you be willing to connect me with them?

Of course, if you ever need help with that kind of thing yourself, I’d be happy to lend a hand 🙂

Thanks a mil!

– Niall

P.S. Here’s a link to the latest website I created, so you can get a feel for my capabilities: [website link here]

Note that I didn’t say something like this:

If you hear of anyone looking for a web designer, please let me know.

Or this:

Please keep me in mind if you hear of anyone looking for a web designer.

Those requests are too passive. They’re unlikely to yield a helpful response or lead to a job opportunity.

Think: what do you want the other person to actually do?

Ideally, you want them to:

  1. stop and think about who they know that might be looking for a web designer, and
  2. go ahead and introduce you to them

The best way to get them to do those things is to ask directly.

Hence:

Can you think of anyone who might require help building a website? And if so, would you be willing to connect me with them?

I should reiterate that this kind of request is only suitable for people you’re already in frequent contact with.

If you send it to an old colleague you barely interact with on Facebook, they’re going to think, “Oh I see. He only messages me when he wants something. Way to make me feel like a special snowflake.”

Lastly here, you should follow up with everyone a week or two after you make your request and ask them again.

Some people are busy and they’ll simply forget. Others won’t take you seriously until you ask a second or even a third time.

So keep asking.

You can use this template for your follow-ups…

Subject: Re: Quick question

Hey Phileas,

Just following up quickly. Were you able to think of anyone who needs help building a website?

Thanks!

– Niall

Okay, so that’s your step 2 for this weekend. Make your list and get busy reaching out.

That is the Door-To-Door Method.

The final method I’m going to recommend you use this weekend, as part of the step-by-step plan to find your first clients and earn your first $100 online, is…

3. The Classified Method

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of this, I want to emphasize again that it’s very important to go through these three methods for finding your first clients in the order I’ve presented them.

I say that because, for some mysterious reason, many people I share this material with find it very tempting to skip the first two methods and jump straight to this one.

But the reason I recommend reaching out to your existing network first – via the Billboard and Door-To-Door methods we just talked about – is because you’re much more likely to find clients that way!

Here’s a quote that should help drive this point home:

“About 90 percent of job openings go unadvertised, yet about 90 percent of candidates apply only to advertised job openings.” – Steven Rothberg, CollegeRecruiter.com

To break that down, let’s say there are 100 job openings and 100 candidates.

Only 10 of those jobs will be advertised, and 90 of the candidates will compete for those 10 jobs, so their odds of getting hired are very low.

The remaining 10 candidates though, they’re smart, because they’re aware of what’s often referred to as “the hidden job market.”

They use their existing network to sniff out those other 90 job opportunities, and they have almost no competition to worry about when applying for them.

But not only will those 10 candidates have much less competition, they’ll also have the advantage of having some kind of existing connection to the employer, because the way the hidden job market works is through personal connections and recommendations.

The hidden job market.

So what I’m saying here is that when you use the first two methods I’ve outlined – the Billboard and Door-To-Door methods – you’re more likely to find your first clients because there will be more opportunities, less competition, and the clients are going to trust you more.

So again, make sure you try the Billboard and Door-To-Door methods first!

Only once you’re finished with those should you move on to the third and final method, which, once again, is called…

3. The Classified Method

I call this the Classified Method because it involves finding clients via the modern-day equivalent of newspaper classified ads.

That is: online job boards.

The biggest and most popular online job board for freelancers is Upwork.com.

Here’s what I recommend you do on Upwork.com this weekend:

  • Create a profile and get it approved
  • Search for high-quality jobs that interest you
  • Apply for those jobs (aim for at least 20)

Yes, that is really simplifying things, but it’s all you really need to get started.

And to help speed up this process I recommend you check out two guides I wrote about Upwork:

That guide will help you ensure you’re not wasting your time applying for crappy jobs, because there are a lot of crappy jobs posted on Upwork and you have to filter heavily to get to the good stuff.

That one will help you craft really good proposals really fast, so you can apply for more jobs on Upwork and thereby have a better chance of getting hired.

Upwork Tip

One additional tip I’ll give you for Upwork before we wrap up.

When you’re creating and sending pitches, as much as possible, include a relevant sample of your work.

If you put yourself in a client’s shoes for a minute, and imagine you’re hiring a freelancer off Upwork, what would be your biggest concern, your biggest fear?

Your biggest fear would be that you’ll hire someone who proves to be incompetent and fails to deliver the work.

As a freelancer, you can TELL clients that you can do great work for them, but it’s much more powerful to actually SHOW them.

And you do that with samples of your work.

So:

  • If you’re applying for a writing job on Upwork, include a relevant writing sample in your pitch.
  • If you’re applying for a graphic design job, include a relevant piece of graphic design work you’ve done.
  • If you’re applying for a web design job, include a link to a website you’ve built.

Now of course, if you don’t already have those samples created, you’re probably not going to be able to create them along with doing everything else we’ve talked about this weekend, but that’s something you should be creating and adding to your arsenal going forward.

So that’s your step 3 for this weekend: Set up a profile on Upwork.com and apply for at least 20 jobs on there.

That is the Classified Method.

Quick Recap

Here again are the three methods you can use to find your first clients and earn your first $100 online this weekend:

  1. The Billboard Method
  2. The Door-To-Door Method
  3. The Classified Method

What I’d like you to do is make a commitment RIGHT NOW to take action on what you’ve learned in this article.

So go ahead and tell me in the comments below:

  • What you’re going to do
  • And when you will have it done by

This is a powerful form of accountability that will make you more likely to follow through and take action, so definitely take a minute to do that now in the comments below.

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14 Comments

  1. i am bit confused , i like to do bill board and classified method
    but i am not used to any social meadia , please help me to get in tune with it, i hope am not disturbing you too much.
    thank you

  2. I am going to start today. With the billboard and start working on classified. Realistically I will give myself 2 weeks to get all 3 methods up and running.

  3. Hey Hey Niall, Linda Martin luv it ha ha I often sing that song when stuck in traffic queues crappy job or broken heart. Right up there with Radioheads creep for an ultimate pity party!!

  4. I’m going to use the Billboard Method and also going to Upwork web to apply for my 20+ jobs , but first will review my sample of my work pitch. Im goint to try and have this done in the next three days

  5. Hi again !

    It won’t be this week-end in my case as I’ll be pretty busy enjoying my holidays with my family before I start uni but let’s say I’ll get it done by the end of next month, also cause I’m not in a hurry and have other priorities right now. But I’ll get it done for sure.

    Now, number 1 and number 3 methods seem pretty easy. My problem though is number 2. I have a really small network of actual friends I regularly speak to (I’ll work on that, as you suggested) AND, as I’m pretty fecking young, I’m not even sure I have a single friend who is a business owner. Actually, I have one : my dad. I’ll still try the method, but there’s 0% chances I’ll be able to reach out to 50 people, as things are right now.

  6. Hey Niall,
    Awesome series. truly inspiring.
    I´ve set up an account today, have been rejected…; (
    tried some changes, waiting for approval.
    Guy.

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