What Corbett Barr’s journey to 6 figures can teach you (even as a freelancer)

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day we forget to take an objective look at why the hell we're doing this anyway

A short while ago, I interviewed Corbett Barr of the awesome Fizzle on developing your “Me Project”. The interview was a roaring success and it highlighted some key moves you can make in content, audience development and productising your expertise.

Corbett Barr is a thought leader when it comes to building audiences and making a living from them by providing value which can later be monetised. I stumbled back across a dusty old ebook (figuratively, of course) from a few years ago that hit the mark then as it does today and it compelled me to write about it.

In this short book 18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures Corbett charts his journey from wandering blogger to six figure business owner. Although he has since gone on to found Fizzle and is probably beyond 7 figures I still think it is a great reference point if you’re looking to get a transparent, authentic take on setting out building an online voice with a view to monetizing it as a secondary (or even primary) income stream.

Here’s 6 lessons Corbett Barr’s book can teach you (download link at the bottom)

1. You are working for your lifestyle, not to pay bills

The majority of that 6 figure income was created on the beaches of Mexico. While it seems those trips to Mexico are more measured these days the same is still true. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day we forget to take an objective look at why the hell we’re doing this anyway. Are we doing it for money? Why? What does that money provide for you? If you keep asking yourself questions of that ilk you’ll soon find the real reason you do this:

To provide a better life and outlook for you and those around you. If you’re too caught up in the battle that is owning your own tiny business then you should regularly loop back to that, why you’re doing this.

2. You need to know where you’re going

Corbett takes an analytical view to setting targets with data but this could be applied to key lifestyle milestones too. If you don’t know what success looks like how will you know when you’ve reached it? In my short book ‘A Blueprint for your next big move’ I walk through the process of creating a vision for your business.

It’ll help you make better growth decisions long-term.

3. The “you must be an expert” mentality is bullshit

Corbett Barr calls bullshit on having to be renowned as a world-class expert to sell anything. He theorises that for his customers, they don’t need to hear the words of an expert, they just need to get what they came for, which in his case, was information on the basics of affiliate marketing.

This is true of all industries. You don’t have to be Matt Cutts to get people to listen to your theories on SEO. You don’t have to be Richard Branson to grab the attention of audiences on how to build a brand – simply, your content and products must deliver what your customers want immediately.

In Barr’s case, 6 – 12 months of experience in affiliate marketing was enough for him to develop a course which people wanted to join.

4. Diversify your income streams

One of the biggest tips I give to freelancers failing to make a sustainable income is to diversify their income streams.

Splitting services and products up, and offering them as separate entities, or developing a few new services or products all together, is a great way to attract more customers and sales on a byline income basis.

Corbett Barr took this to a different level. He created two blogs as opposed to one – each blog attracted different viewers, and therefore, his impact was doubled. It’s important for you as a freelancer to create a secondary income stream, in the book Getting off the Income Roller Coaster we look at productising your freelance expertise as an option for achieving this.

5. Size doesn’t matter

In the book there is a story of a dinner with four fellow bloggers. Each makes a living from their platform, but one of those bloggers earns much more than the other three, the one thing that is different for them all is audience size. Some make it work on smaller audiences, others have to battle to get larger ones.

Providing value to prospective audiences is one thing they all have in common and the same is true for freelance businesses. If you’re building a reputation in your space you’ll rise above your competition and be able to bill on value provided, not time spent.

6. Be Different

Even as a freelancer you have a differentiating factor – why don’t you define it? If you can build a message that echoes what you stand for and ensures you’re ‘unique, different and unforgettable’ then you have a powerful tool for converting otherwise passive prospects into clients.

He notes that the reason 99% of blogs never get off the ground isn’t because the author hasn’t got the skills to promote it, nor that they haven’t figured out the latest whizzbang Twitter strategy, but because blogger doesn’t write anything that’s worth reading.

If you’re focusing on the minutiae of detail of ‘being better at email’ and ‘working out your cost-plus hourly rate’ then you’re way too close. Look objectively at your business and figure out how you can generate a secondary income to flatten the peaks and troughs, build a solid value proposition, demand attention in your space and bill on value provided not time spent.

These are the high-leverage moves you should really care about as these will have the long-term benefits that only a stable freelance life can provide.

Download Corbett’s book here for free

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When you’re held ransom by client work and income instability how are you supposed to find time to work on “growth” (whatever that means).

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