3 Questions About Making a Side Hustle Profitable, Answered - Business Insider

Summary

Graham Cochrane started freelancing and making YouTube videos during the Great Recession.

Today, 13 years later, he brings home over $1 million a year.

Graham Cochrane started freelancing and making YouTube videos during the Great Recession.

Today, 13 years later, he brings home over $1 million a year.

He tells clients to be confident, patient, and willing to give away content for free to succeed.

After Graham Cochrane, 38, lost two jobs during the Great Recession, he launched a blog and YouTube channel about music production and started doing freelance music production for bands to make ends meet.

Over 13 years, he continued to scale his business, and today, Cochrane has more than 600,000 subscribers on YouTube and offers a wide variety of coaching courses for other content creators. His business now earns over $1 million a year in revenue, according to documents reviewed by Insider, and his combined household income also breaks the seven-figure mark.

Below, he shares the three most common questions he gets from clients who want to do what he did.

1. Who am I to do this?

Cochrane said the first thing he has to do with his coaching clients is dispel any imposter syndrome, especially for those trying to become content creators.

Cochrane takes clients through a series of thought exercises: "What does the credibility really mean? And what does authority mean? What does an expert do, really? And do people really need an expert or, are they just looking for results? Have you helped somebody in real life?"

"If you've helped somebody in real life, even a just friend, you can help them on the internet," Cochrane continued. "It's the same thing — they're just people."

This exercise ultimately leads to his answer to clients' imposter syndrome: You don't have to be an expert in order to launch a side hustle, and help people with something you're good at.

"We're at an age where people are willing to learn from — and actually almost prefer — to learn from non-certified gurus," Cochrane said. "They want to learn from real people who have done it themselves."

2. How do I monetize what I know, if I'm giving it away for free?

Cochrane built his seven-figure business by giving away content for free. For people starting a side hustle to earn more, this may seem counterintuitive. Why would you give a lot of content away for free when you're trying to earn a living?

Cochrane says "you would be surprised" how much giving stuff away for free and developing a huge audience leads to more earning potential later.

"You need an audience of people to sell to," he said. "More people will buy from you, because now they know you, like you, and trust you. They've test-driven your material and your coaching."

Cochrane said customers are driven by results, and if your material helps them in some way, they will assume that your paid content leads to even greater results. "Understanding that, all it takes is time," Cochrane said.

3. How fast can I start making money?

Which brings Cochrane to the final big question he often gets: How fast can I start making money?

He answers that patience is a huge part of building out a side hustle. "It's not quick, but it's sustainable and scalable — and it can be largely passive," Cochrane said.

He explained that while it took him a long time to build up his business, he currently only has to put in about five or six hours of work per week.

"But that didn't happen in month one, year one, or even year two," he said. "I tell people if you're willing to chip away at it and make it a regular part of your weekly rhythm, doing this for the next five to 10 years, then you could be the right kind of person to build this out — but it's going to be slow."

"It's not trading crypto," Cochrane continued. "It's not something quick and sexy, but it's got legs. I've been doing this for 13 years and it's only growing."

3 Questions About Making a Side Hustle Profitable, Answered - Business Insider
Photo Credit: Business Insider

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