Some consultants dream of building a pipeline of new clients, so that they can focus on providing services to a never-ending stream of paying customers. Other consultants dream of building passive income products, so they can generate revenue without needing to trade time for money.
What if I told you there was a third way: a way to combine passive income products and a client pipeline to create an automated income system for your consulting business? Don’t get me wrong. When I say “automated income system,” I am not saying it won’t take work. It will! But there’s a way to combine services and information products to build a steady and automatic stream of income for your business.
Here are the 5 steps I have used over and over again to build automated income systems for my consulting businesses:
Step #1: Get Traffic to Your Website
The first step in creating an automated income system is to get steady traffic to your website. This is because using online traffic to generate a lead list is the cheapest, most effective, and most easily automated strategy for building up a prospect universe for your business.
To get more traffic to your website, follow a multi-channel approach. This includes creating a blog to build organic (search engine) traffic, being active on social media, and using paid online advertising to drive traffic to your site.
Remember that the single biggest goal for your website is to get people to sign-up for your e-mail list (more on that in the next step).
Step #2: Get Prospects to Sign-Up for Your E-Mail Newsletter
Once you start generating traffic to your website, the next step is to get your website visitors to sign-up for your e-mail newsletter list. This is a crucial step for building an automated income system because e-mail is the cheapest and most effective way to communicate with prospects. Likewise, it is easily automated via autoresponders and pre-written e-mail templates.
For more information on how to set-up your website to get people to sign-up for your list, read How to Build a Bigger E-Mail List for Your Business.
Step #3: Communicate Weekly
The third step in creating an automated income system is to communicate regularly (at least weekly) with your e-mail newsletter list. If you send out e-mails too infrequently, you’ll lose the connection you are trying to build with your prospects… and many of them may even forget that the signed-up for your list.
My usual advice to consultants that are new to e-mail list building is that if you aren’t worried that you’re sending too many e-mails, then you’re definitely not sending enough. Make your e-mail newsletters informative, with actionable content of interest to your target audience.
Step #4: Sell Books, Webinars, and Classes
As you send out e-mails to your newsletter list, you should occasionally run sales launches or offers for your passive income products, including your e-books, webinars, and courses. Many consultants worry about selling products to their list. They are concerned that these types of sales will hurt their ability to convert newsletter subscribers into paying consulting clients. This is mistake. Don’t be shy about selling these information products… they’ll help the people on your list, generate income, and actually make it more likely that people on the list will see you as an expert and want to hire you as their consultant or coach.
Building passive income is a huge part of creating a successful automated income system because information products can be written / recorded once, but sold for many years to come. Unlike consulting, where you’re trading time for money, with info products you can invest a few hours or a few days into creating an amazing course or webinar and then sell thousands of copies (or more) over the subsequent years.
When building an automated income system, your information products should form the foundation of your revenue.
Step #5: Upgrade to Coaching or Consulting
The fifth and final step of building your automated income system is putting a structure in place to upgrade a percentage of those people on your list (and especially those people who bought your passive income products) into paid coaching or consulting clients.
You can do this several ways. One is by reaching out directly (one-on-one by personalizing a template e-mail) to those who purchased your products to set-up no-obligation calls to show them how you can help them achieve better results. You can also send out e-mails to your entire list detailing the results you are getting for clients, the services you provide, and inviting people to get in touch to discuss working together.
If you are sending out your e-mail newsletter on a regular basis, you will also find that because you are establishing your expertise with your content, subscribers will often reach out to you to discuss working together, without being prompted.
Is This Really an Automated Income System?
You may be thinking to yourself that this all seems like a lot of work, and that creating newsletters each week (not to mention classes and webinars) doesn’t really qualify as an “automated income system.” Well, here’s the secret for taking the system to the next level: nearly everything in this 5-step system can be almost fully automated, with the exception of providing coaching and consulting services.
You don’t really need to create brand new e-mail newsletter content on a weekly basis. If you’re sending out a weekly e-newsletter, that means you’ll be sending out 52 articles per year (1 article per week). Focus on writing evergreen articles that will always be applicable for your niche. Write new articles for 2 years (that’s 104 articles, written once per week). After that, you won’t have to write new newsletters, you can just recycle old articles. 99.99% of your audience won’t ever catch on that you’re sending out the same articles once every two years.
Likewise, you can create e-books, webinars, and online classes once and sell them over and over again. At some of my consulting companies, I would launch the same course two or three times per year, on a rotating cycle with other courses. Each time you launch the product, you can use the same marketing e-mails and blog posts to make sales. After just 1-2 years of consistent effort, you can have a successful automated income system humming along, providing not only passive revenue but also a steady stream of consulting clients for your business.