Paul Minors is a productivity blogger and virtual consultant. Paul grew his business “on the side” while working full-time and now consults to companies all around the world helping them with tools like Asana, Pipedrive, MailChimp and Zapier.
Paul’s website now receives 100,000+ visits per month and his audience of 43,000+ email subscribers love hearing about how to be more productive in business and life.
So tell us a bit about you and your business?
I am a productivity blogger and consultant. I sell digital products and courses to help people with consulting and productivity. I also consult to companies and help them to use tools like Asana, Pipedrive, Zapier and Mailchimp.
What was your main motivation to start a business?
My motivation comes from wanting to be fully self-sufficient. I want to be 100% in control of my time and income and not dependent on an employer. Running my own business gives me the freedom to work on my terms and balance business with my lifestyle and spending time with family.
How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur?
I started consulting “on the side” when I was working a full-time job. I would work before and after my day job and after a few months I was making more from consulting than my full-time salary so I decided to quit my job.
I had a few small business ventures while I was studying at university. Nothing major. My first ever entrepreneurial experience was when I was 6 years old and I sold hand-made bracelets when I was holidaying with my family in France.
How did you validate your idea?
I started by listing a few skills that I had on Clarity.fm which is a dial an expert service. It was a quick and easy way to throw up a bunch of ideas to see what people needed help with (without having to build a website). After a number of people booked calls with me to get help with Asana, I knew I was on to something that could really work.
How did you finance your project?
100% self-financed. Really I didn’t need a lot of capital and still don’t to this day. The benefit of consulting is it’s really just your time that’s required.
How did you market and promote your business when you were launching?
I started with Google Adwords and targeted people searching for experts to work with. I used very specific keywords to make sure my budget was spent only on targeting people who want to work with consultants.
How long did it take you to start getting the first results and see you could create a viable business ?
A couple of weeks.
What are the main ways in which you are able to monetize your activities ?
Knowledge and expertise can be packages up many different ways. Today, I primarily make money through consulting, but I’ve also made videos, courses and other digital content to deliver and sell my expertise. When you build an audience, other revenue streams like affiliate marketing and sponsorships also become more plausible.
It took a few years before you could switch full time on your business? What has been your revenue progression as a side hustle?
For years I tried making money selling digital products but I was only making a few hundred dollars a month. I learned that it takes a while to build the audience you need to make digital products work.
When I started consulting, I was able to replace my full-time salary and earn a sustainable $3-5k/month within a 3-4 months. That’s the great thing about consulting. You can get started and generate revenue very quickly.
You used to wake up earlier and work on your side hustle before going to work. How do you keep persistent and motivated to make sure your side hustle is moving forward without burning out ?
Do something you love and make sure you’re building your building your business for the right reasons. For me, I would always remind myself why I was doing it - to be self-sufficient and increase my freedom. When this motivation is clear in your mind, getting up early is easy!
How many hours on average were you able to work weekly on your side hustle while having a full time job?
About 15-20 hours per week before and after work.
What do you like most being an entrepreneur?
The freedom that comes from working how/when I want on whatever I choose to do. I hated the bureaucracy of my full-time job because when I had an idea, there were too many hoops to jump through. When you work for yourself, there’s nothing really stopping you from doing what you want (which presents a different set of challenges).
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur?
Overcoming the anxiety of going it alone. For the first 12-18 months of working for myself full-time, I felt this pressure to increase sales and keep the business alive. I kept thinking that the business could die at any moment. It took a while to get more comfortable with the unknown. When you work for yourself, there are ups and downs. Good months and bad months. But eventually I learned that the good months usually outweigh the bad.
What are your business goals for this coming year?
I don’t really have any (thanks to Paul Jarvis for helping me to realise this is okay). I’m happy with the income level I’m at and the work I’m doing right now. I don’t know what the future holds but I’ll keep evaluating ideas and opportunities as they come up.
How can an aspiring entrepreneur start building a business now as a side hustle? What would be a good business type to start as a beginner?
Naturally I think consulting is a great way to earn an income quickly without having to develop a product or service. If I was going to go back and do things differently, I would have started consulting sooner. Then, when I had quit my job and created a sustainable income, I would have the time to work on other products and services.
I now have a course that teaches people about how to get started as a "virtual consultant”. A student of mine quit job after 3 months and now earns $20k/month consulting.
But really it comes back to doing what you enjoy and solving problems for customers. I’m also a big believing in giving away a lot of free value first as this helps to develop your brand and establish some credibility.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Time blocking (putting appointments on my calendar for the tasks I need to complete).
What's your favourite quote?
“Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like fuck!” - Geoff Ross, New Zealand entrepreneur
I think this is great advice particularly in the early side-hustle stages.
Any good book to recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
The 4-Hour Work Week is still my bible. I also really like Value-Based Fees by Allan Weiss which is great if you’re getting into consulting.
Learn more about Paul and his work at www.paulminors.com
Find more of Paul's side hustle story on this blog post
How to become a virtual consultant course
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