How To Work Smarter

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The other day Kate and I were talking about friend’s local construction company. I used to work for them quite some years ago. The parents own the company and their son (my age) works in the company as well.

The majority of their work is remodeling local homes near the beach. If somebody wants a new room added on or a backyard redesign they can do it. They’re a great company and really talented.

When I worked for them I did a lot of the grunt work. I would dig holes re-route piping hold beams in place and do some minor assistant type of work. It wasn’t my long term passion but it paid the bills at the time.

With that said, the work they do is amazing. They’ll remodel kitchens, lay wood floors and it all looks great when they’re done.

What I didn’t realize about a business model like this is that it requires huge influxes of cash coming into their accounts and going out.

For example they have to have massive accounts at local hardware stores in order to buy the materials they need specific to each job. Then they have to make sure all of their tools are sharp and working properly. Many of these tools might require some maintenance which also costs money.

Then you have to pay the group of workers you’ve hired to do the job correctly. Once the job is all finished and the customer is happy, you need to pay back your advance with the hardware company you’ve purchased all your supplies from. Then you need to pay your workers, and replace some tools if needed. On top of that what’s left over needs to have tax taken out.

After that, you can pay any other workers, pay off some more business debt, then pay your personal bills with after tax money and if there’s anything left over you can save for retirement or spend some money on a good vacation.

Millions of dollars might go through their account but after it’s all said and one, there’s not a whole lot left over.

Needless to say they go through major ups and major downs. There have been times where they owe their workers $50,000 every two weeks and they don’to have anything to pay them. Kate tells me they have sometimes hundreds of thousands that are due to them but getting it is another matter.

When you work for somebody or you have your own business you need to change your mindset and realize we live in the digital age. The ability to record something is probably the single biggest asset for business owners today.

Today you can record an article, like you’re reading now. Write it once and it helps hundreds of thousands of people forever and you’re done.

The same thing goes with audio.

On our alternative health radio show we’ve now recorded over 500 episodes all available for free. We started that show back in 2012, 5 years ago and I routinely have people email in saying they’re starting to listen to episode #1 and making their way up.

I recorded that interview one time. The recording is forever available on the internet. People share it all the time and I only did that work once, because the subject matter is ever green.

If I were talking about fashion or technology it probably wouldn’t be relevant any more because fashion and technology are notoriously industries that change very frequently.

Because the subject matter is ever green (never changes) it will apply to people as much in 5 years as it did 5 years ago. That’s a 10 year difference for work I did once.

That’s a smarter way to work.

The added benefit is that the content in that episode is incredibly helpful to people and that’s what people need, help with what their problems are.

If you solve problems and record your work, the sky is the limit for you and your business.

The same is true with video.

If you create a video that’s entertaining and helps people in some way, you only work one time and then you promote that video as much as you can and it helps people.

Think about it, nobody ever got independently wealthy trading time for money. That’s the worst way you could spend your working hours. Look at any musician, actor or producer, all of their work is recorded and sold later.

Document everything. Record everything and help everyone.

How would our friend who owns the construction company enter into this new way of working?

There are two sides to the coin. The physical labor side of the work that they do which is building and fixing their clients’ homes.

Then there’s the digital side.

The latter is dependent on the former. You can’t have the latter without the former. Because they’re already doing the physical work, why not start a second “side business” (even though it’s just a part of the regular business) recording everything they’re doing?

How about recording all of the aspects of their business.

Here are a few I can think of:

  • How to remodel a bathroom
  • How to lay wood floors
  • How to install sky lights
  • How to lay carpeting
  • How to knock down a wall
  • How to install granite counter tops
  • How to remodel your kitchen
  • etc

These are just a few examples I thought of as I’m writing this. I obviously don’t the expert insight to think of all the possibilities but you get the hint.

How could this be monetized?

Obviously they wouldn’t look to replace their existing business (unless it got to the point where it “out earned” that business pretty significantly).

Keep in mind that doing something like this is the long term play. It’s something you do along side of your business for as long as you can. This ensures that if you get sick or if you accidently chop your arm off and can’t do the physical business anymore, you can still earn money passively even when you’re not physically working at all.

There are a million ways to monetise something like this. Here are some ways I can think of right off the bat (if you think of more add them to the comments below).

The Free Model

Build a website and put everything on it for free, videos and everything. Support the free content with Google ads (on the articles and videos). Sign up for an affiliate link for Amazon and other places like Lowes for the tools and supplies you use regularly. Do product review videos on all the tools you own and link to them with your affiliate link. Everything is free for everybody (except to buy tools and materials). This way everybody wins.

Here’s an example of such a site.

The Hybrid Model

Fluff out your videos a little bit and package them up as a course where people could buy individual courses that might consist of 20 or 30 short videos about how you do what you do. For example people could buy your course on kitchen remodeling for $97 bucks and follow step by step what you tell them to do.

Here’s an example of such a course.

You could offer a course for each project potentially having 20 or more courses people could purchase from you.

The reason I call this the hybrid model is because you could still offer free content on the blog or free videos. You just don’t go into fine detail unless somebody wants to make a purchase.

The free content on your website could still be monetized by Google ads, affiliate programs and more. Plus by doing the hybrid approach to business you can get more free search traffic by offering free content that really helps people.

It won’t be long until you are seen as an authority in your field.

The Membership Model

You could still offer all those courses behind a paywall where people would pay $47 a month to get new courses each month. They’ll never own them but they can “rent” them much like Netflix does.

Here’s an example of a paid membership site.

This makes it much easier on your end because you will not have people wanting to get refunds on 30 different products and learning how to sell each of those products is a task in itself.

This is the model I like the best because it’s easiest. Since you’re already doing this work everyday yourself you’ll always have new courses you can add that teaches people some new aspect of DIY home repair.

It’s genius.

The Business To Business Model

This model is great too for 2 reasons. You could teach other people the skills they need to run their own construction business. There are probably lots of tips you could share with them that they’d pay to learn. You could share with them, things to avoid when starting out, how to setup your business properly, where to get legal contracts, how to do book keeping etc.

After you successfully digitize your business you could share with other burnt out people who own construction companies, how to digitize their business also.

As you can see there are a lot of levels to this and ways to leverage the work that you’re already doing.

You could even create certification course for how to learn woodworking or home repair related to starting a business as such.

The point is, every day you’re working, if you’re not recording it, you’re losing out on long term gains. It’s also an insurance plan because you don’t know how long physically you’re going to be able to continue working so hard.

Let’s say you’re 45 years old and want to retire in 10 years because your body is breaking down from all the hard work. What if you put a plan in place to keep the business and hire people to run it and do all the work? Then in the next 10 years you made it your mission to become the leading expert in your field by digitizing your business and recording everything.

Instead of retiring with nothing and being forced to sell the business for less than you wanted, you can now hire somebody to run it all and continue working on the digital side of things and making way more than you thought you could without doing all the hard work.

This same principle could be applied to hair stylists, teachers of all kinds, and pretty much any job you could think of.

If time is money than by not recording what you’re doing every day you’re losing out on a lot of money and being able to help people accomplish what they want to accomplish.

If you’re a hair stylist why not teach other budding hair stylists how to start and run a business or how to get more clients? You could teach mom’s at home how to do basic cuts for their family saving them money. You could teach hairstylists how to do certain trendy cuts in an online course or membership program offering them new content every month.

We didn’t even talk about podcasting but this medium is also something you’ll want to explore. Content comes in only 3 forms, written, audio and video. You could start a podcast answering questions from readers or interviewing big names in your field. During the podcast you can run mini ad spots for your own courses or membership programs.

We really need to rethink how we earn money and think about whether or not it’s the smartest way to go about it. All the tools online are here for us we just need to get creative and learn what your strengths are.

If you’ve got a great personality and hate video you could start a podcast. If you’re good on camera and can teach well, start a Youtube channel and monetize that. If can write well or you’ve got some technical skills, start your website and begin working on your “side hustle” every night after work.

Who knows in 5 years or less depending on how smart, talented and dedicated you are you might be able to replace your current career with a digital one. Or at the very least earn a very nice side income from it.

In the digital age the sky really is the limit for how you can monetize an already existing brick and mortar business. All it takes is a little creativity, discipline and some elbow grease.

Digital elbow grease of course. 😉

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