How Millennials Make Side Money (with Amanda Abella)
In this episode, Anthony chats with Amanda Abella. Amanda is a digital marketing consultant to small businesses and startups. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Business Insider, among many other well-known publications. She’s built an online community of over 30,000 people. She’s also the author of, Make Money Your Honey. Listen as Amanda lists down ways on how you can use your knowledge and skills to earn money online.
- Millennials and Entrepreneurship
- Spending Money in the Ri
- 00:17 – Anthony introduces Amanda
- 00:53 – Make Money Your Honey
- 02:04 – Why Millennials are attracted to Entrepreneurship
- Millennials are tired and fed up with student loans
- The impact of growing up with technology
- 04:58 – The importance of having multiple streams of income
- 06:14 – The psychological leap and Amanda’s first dollar freelancing
- 09:08 – Spend money in the right places
- 10:04 – Amanda shares where you can get money
- Sell stuff on eBay
- Virtual Assistant Services
- Online Consulting with the skills you already have
- 17:18 – What people don’t realize their knowledge is valuable
- 18:08 – Get on Amanda’s FREE Class and learn the 6 different ways on how you can monetize your influence online
- 19:04 – Connect with Amanda on her website, Facebook, and Instagram
Link and Resources
- Make Money Your Honey – Amanda’s book
- eBay – Platform where you can sell/flip items
- Amanda’s FREE Class
- Unsplash and Canva – Websites where you can get good background graphics
Call or text 212-401-2990 if you’d like to work with Anthony (or any of our guests).
ANTHONY: Hey guys, today let’s talk about earning that first elusive dollar online. That’s really the hump a lotta people need help getting over so they can really make that leap from being a straight up nine to fiver, to starting down that path to side income. So today I have with me Amanda Abella. Thanks for jumping on, Amanda.
AMANDA: Thanks for having me on, I love this conversation.
ANTHONY: Cool, cool. Let me do the intro to make you look as awesome as possible. Or sound, I guess. Amanda is a digital marketing consultant to small businesses and start-ups. Her work has been featured in Forbes, the Huffington Post, and even Business Insider, amongst many other well-known publications. She’s built an online community of over 30,000 folks. Where they learn how to make money online. And she’s the author of the Amazon best-seller, Make Money Your Honey. I love that title by the way.
AMANDA: I know, I love it. So one of my first ever coaching clients actually came up with it, and I was like, ding ding ding, there it is! You know how you have those moments where it’s like, oh, that’s it. And then you just run with it. That was one of those, that was a good one.
ANTHONY: And that’s another great reason to have a community. You get to bounce ideas off each other and you know, it’s hard to think of things in a vacuum, yeah.
AMANDA: Yeah, I know it’s really hard. And sometimes people are like, I work with a lot of bloggers who are now starting to be approached with business opportunities as I was. And I had to learn how to maneuver this world. So now I help them maneuver it. And one of the things people get so hung up on, is what do I name this thing? And I’m like, trust me, it’ll come, okay. Don’t worry about that now. Just do an LLC under your own name right now. It doesn’t matter, it will come. You’re not focusing on the right thing right now.
ANTHONY: We talked about this before by email, but my audience is primarily folks between the ages of say, 30 to 55. So I know your audience is primarily the millennial group. And I guess I cover the tail end of that generation. So can you tell us, why are millennials so attracted to entrepreneurship? What is it about that generation?
AMANDA: Well I’m 30, so I’m technically in your audience. And I can just tell you, from my personal experience, I graduated in 2010. I saw the economy fall apart right before my very eyes. And in that moment I really started to question things, in terms of the system that we’re taught to actually go make money. So I think with millennials, it’s partially that. It’s like the systems have failed us, so we gotta go figure something out. I was fortunate enough not to have student loans, but I have this conversation with my audience very frankly. Where I’m like, listen if you got six figures of student loan debt and you’re only making 40 grand a year at your job, and your only option is to go back to school to get into even more debt to get a little bit of a raise, something’s messed up here. The numbers are not adding up. So a lot of them find themselves in that particular situation, and they’re tired. They’re fed up. And I think another part of it is they want more flexibility. We grew up with the internet. Well, I mean I still remember life before the internet, barely. I vaguely remember life before the internet. But we grew up with technology. So for example, this is a debate I get into sometimes with my roommate’s boyfriend. He’s had a company for twenty-some odd years. And he was over the other night. We had a bunch of friends here and we were hanging out on the balcony. And we were trying to explain to him how to use an email list, and how that’s gonna lead to sales. ‘Cause we were like, why are you just limited to your local area, we have the internet. There’s no need for it, you can work from anywhere. So I think that’s a part of it, too.
ANTHONY: What kind of business is he in? I’m surprised he doesn’t have an email list.
AMANDA: I mean, he does real estate. He doesn’t necessarily need the email list for that. But he’s got a furniture company, construction company, interior design. I mean, the guys been around a while. He still sees things sometimes in very traditional business ways, because it is a more traditional business. So it’s really interesting to see those conversations about how we’re like, why don’t you use Instagram? I mean it’s design, hello?
ANTHONY: I mean, have you tried calling email lists like a very very inexpensive direct mailer? Maybe that would resonate with him?
AMANDA: Well, we explained it to him over the weekend. And he’s like oh okay, I get it now. We’re like, yeah okay. So, he understands it now. But to him, he loves going into an office every day. To me, that sounds like death. But you know, to each his own. I was like I don’t wanna have to be anywhere. That’s the whole point. So, it’s a lifestyle thing. And it’s a combination of those things. It’s a combination of lifestyle, it’s a combination of, the systems as they just failed us. And we’re fed up.
ANTHONY: Yeah, so your story is, I think that’s unfortunately a common theme amongst the many folks in your generation. And it really does emphasize why it’s so important to have multiple sources of income. Can you speak a little bit about that?
AMANDA: Yeah, so I actually came upon this concept back in 2010, when I was unemployed and looking for a job. And I won’t spoil it, because I know we’re gonna talk about my first dollar. But I started freelancing at that time. But I still got a job, ’cause I thought that that’s what you’re supposed to do. And no-one ever taught me business or entrepreneurship. It’s all been basically me learning on my own for the last eight years. And I got that job, and I kept making money on the side. ‘Cause I was like, no I already know what it’s like to be broke, right? So even though I’m not making a whole lot of money at this job, I’m gonna keep the side thing going, and I’m gonna learn. ‘Cause there’s something here and I’m not gonna give up the extra money. Not now, the economy is in the toilet.
ANTHONY: It sounds like one of your primary motivations was sort of a sense of security, is that right?
AMANDA: Yeah, it was total survival. And on top of that, I was a recruiter. That was my last job. I interviewed people who got laid off all the time. And they had no back-up plan whatsoever, and no savings most of the time. And I’m like, oh my God. I do not ever want to be one of these people.
ANTHONY: For sure. So, let’s talk about the psychological leap. I mean, I think part of the problem is that a lot of folks think it’s way harder than it actually is to make that first dollar online. Can you talk a little bit about that?
AMANDA: So I’ve had a lot of lessons in how, actually, it’s pretty easy to make money if you’re providing value and you package it up. And you can really shorten your learning curve by asking for help, and investing in help. That took me awhile to learn. ‘Cause I had to overcome the mindset that spending and investing are not the same thing. But in terms of the first dollar I ever made, I mean, I was desperate. That’s the honest truth. I was like, food costs money, I don’t have a job. I’m just gonna google. I know how to write, that’s all I know how to do. So I’m just gonna google how to write for money. That was my first dollar, I made five bucks my first month. And it was like a sign-up bonus or something. I didn’t even make actual money from the work I did. It’s still money, right? And it’s still the best five bucks I ever made. ‘Cause I was like, wait a minute, I just made $5 doing something I actually like to do, from home, in my pajamas. There’s something here. And from that moment I was hooked.
ANTHONY: So what was that first job. Can you tell us?
AMANDA: I don’t even know if these things exist anymore. They were called content mills. So it was called Associated Content, and then it was Yahoo Contributor Network, and then Google kept dinging them, so I don’t think it even exists anymore. But basically, you would write all these articles, and then you would get paid passively off of the ad revenue. So, I didn’t make any money in ad revenue that month, but I got the sign-up bonus which was five bucks.
ANTHONY: Oh, I didn’t know that’s how it worked back then. I thought there was small upfront payments. But there was no residual.
AMANDA: They have those too, it was both. So I actually got into finance and personal finance because I noticed that they had, like a month in, right. ‘Cause I was still learning my way around. I noticed that they had these open assignments for personal finance topics. And I was thinking to myself, hmm. I don’t know anything about money. Clearly I need to know money, because the economy’s a disaster. Clearly I need to stack some money so that I have it, the next time the economy becomes a disaster. But I don’t know anything about it. I wonder if I could get paid to learn about money. And that’s how I took those assignments, and then it turned into my career.
ANTHONY: Love it, getting paid to learn, that’s the best. So I mean, a lot of folks probably think, oh you know, if I wanna make money online I have to spend money to set up a blog, to do all these things, to hire a designer. But is that true? Or are there ways to really get to that first dollar without spending much or any money? What are some avenues for new people to explore for that.
AMANDA: I do think you need to spend money, but I think you need to spend it in the right places. And I think that’s the mistake a lot of people make. For example, if you just set up a blog for the first time, and you’re trying to figure it out, and you’re serious about this. Because I talk to people like this all the time. They’re like, oh I’ve had a blog for six months or a year, and I’m starting to get approached the same questions over and over again, I’m starting to realize I can monetize this. Your brands are starting to come to me. So if you’re in that stage, it’s really imperative that you spend money in the right places. That is not a $5,000 website design. That is hiring a mentor, or getting into some sort of a training program that actually teaches you how to continue making more money. And then you reinvest it over time. So this whole idea that you don’t need to spend money to make money, is. And that is a lesson that I really learned the hard way. I mean, I tried so hard not to spend money. And I was counting pennies, and it wasn’t until maybe a couple years ago when I realized I had it all wrong.
ANTHONY: For the person who still needs to get over that mental block that it’s, you know, oh, it’s not for me, I don’t have the right skills to make money online. So, from my understanding, one of the best ways to get over that hump and realize that it is out there for you, is something either along the lines of freelancing or jumping on Fiverr, or even Upwork. Do you advise your clients in that regard at all?
AMANDA: Definitely not Fiverr or Upwork, ’cause you can make more money elsewhere. But for example, I was just blogging this morning. I just published a new one this morning. And I updated it, which was like four ways to make an extra thousand dollars, right? Sell stuff on Ebay. My roommate cleans out people’s closets for a living, and then she sells the good stuff on Ebay. She flips it, right. I know tons of people who do that. That’s a much easier way of making money and you’ll make more than Upwork, for example. Or, another is Virtual Assistant services. I know a ton of people who got started online by doing administrative services for entrepreneurs like me, for example. Or another one is consulting. I had a conversation a few years ago now. She’s a friend who lives in Miami, but back then she’d signed up for a sales consultation with me. And she’d just gotten laid off from her last corporate job, which I think at the time was countrywide. And she’d just gotten laid off, and she’d joined an MLM, and she really thought that she needed a product. She was so in this corporate mindset, that she thought she needed a product to make money. And I said, you’ve got like 15 years of experience in corporate. You probably know how to teach small businesses what to do, ’cause half of them don’t know what they’re doing. More than half don’t know what they’re doing. Yeah, definitely way more than half. Right? Why don’t you just package up your knowledge and sell it. And that was the first time she’d ever heard something like that. So now, it took her a couple of years, you know, she went back to corporate ’cause she didn’t have that confidence yet. And now, a couple years later, this is her first year doing full-time self-employment. She’s basically doing the same thing she was doing at her last job, just in consulting packages. She’s gonna hit six figures her first year in business.
ANTHONY: Okay, so you just dropped a couple of really great suggestions. I wanna make sure it’s not going too fast for the listeners. So the first suggestion, was rather than making a couple of bucks on Fiverr or Upwork, and for those of you who don’t know, those are sort of online marketplaces for freelance services. Amanda’s suggesting you go a little bit bigger, or go a little more profitable with maybe selling or flipping products on Ebay, maybe Craigslist or whatever. Maybe, I think there’s some other venues now. Hey, Amanda. I don’t know if you’ve heard this story. Isn’t that how Kim Kardashian got started? Have you heard that story?
AMANDA: I don’t know about Kim Kardashian, I know that’s uh, oh my gosh, why is her name escaping me. The chick from Nasty Gal. It’s the clothing brand, but I cannot remember her name to save my life right now. And that’s what she did. She would find vintage clothing and she’d flip it. And that eventually turned into multimillion dollar company.
ANTHONY: What Kim Kardashian did, and obviously this is not available to everybody, but she took out a loan from her father, for I think it was like $10,000. Again, not everybody’s gonna have access to that kind of credit. But she took the $10,000 and bought a bunch of top of the line designer bags that were so hot that they were soon gonna be unavailable. And she sold them on the secondary market as unused but new bags. And basically doubled her money on each bag. And she kept doing that, and she was able to pay her father back with interest. And she did that all online, and I think through Instagram. I’m not sure if that’s true.
AMANDA: I have friends who do that. One of my clients is at a Goodwill right now, doing a brand ambassadorship with them for Halloween. And they’re gonna give her, part of her payment is like a gift card to the Goodwill. She’s gonna flip that into a few hundred bucks more than what it’s gonna cost her, at least.
ANTHONY: I don’t know if you know, so what I do for a living is I’m probate attorney. So I do a lot of estate sales as part of helping winding down final affairs for my client’s families. There’s a lot of value there for folks who are willing to help the families liquidate what’s left in the house or whatnot.
AMANDA: Yeah, and then I have a friend who does that. He’s been doing it for awhile. He actually sold my broken MacBook that was sitting in my closet forever. And when he found out it was sitting in my closet collecting dust, he was like, you can sell that for parts. He took the thing apart, figured out what he could sell, and then he made me, like it was ruined, but he was able to sell the screen for like 300 bucks. And then he just PayPal-ed me 300 bucks, just for a screen. Isn’t that amazing!
ANTHONY: That’s awesome, wow. I have an old MacBook sitting in my, okay. I’ll have to talk to you about that offline.
-But he did that for me, right. And he’s like I’ll just sell it on my account, ’cause I’ve been doing it for awhile and I have good reviews. So he sold it in two days.
ANTHONY: So that’s like flipping physical, undervalued things. I don’t know what else to call them. The second thing you mentioned was, instead of doing freelance work, doing virtual assistant work. And the reason I think that’s a really great suggestion Amanda, is because you’re getting paid probably the same if not more as a freelancer. But you’re also learning skills from entrepreneurs who are trying and doing things by helping them. Is that also how you see it?
AMANDA: Yeah, and it goes even bigger than that. One of my friends, that’s how she started. One of my colleagues. Now she trains other virtual assistants.
ANTHONY: So she’s sort of like her own staffing house? Is that what it would be called?
AMANDA: Basically, yeah. That’s what it turned into, I mean the possibilities are really endless here. My virtual assistant learns a ton from me, for example. And she was actually trained by my colleague. So there you go.
ANTHONY: I mean, just watching you or whoever your entrepreneur is, watching how A/B testing works, watching how to set up an ad campaign on social. That’s stuff that will save you hours if you’re tryin’a set your own business, yeah.
AMANDA: Yeah, she’s like oh my gosh, she loads my emails. I’ll write my own email marketing, but she’s loading it and reading it for me, and she’s studying what I’ve done. Then she starts practicing it with her own audience. Yeah, it’s genius. It’s like getting paid to get your MBA.
ANTHONY: Very cool. So it’s almost like circling back to what you said about getting paid to learn, which is a great concept.
AMANDA: Yeah, and then you’re gonna make even more money as a result of that, over the course of your lifetime.
ANTHONY: And then the last suggestion you brought up, which is something that I think a lot of my audience needs to really wrap their head around. Is taking your existing skills, the skills that you’ve spent your career building up at what you thought was a drudgy nine to five job, and repackaging that into some sort of expertise or consulting. And I think a lot of people fail to see that opportunity.
AMANDA: They do, because they think it’s really basic to them. I mean if it’s basic to them, it must be basic to everyone else.
ANTHONY: Very, very true. There’s folks who are compensation experts. And they don’t realize that that is very very valuable expertise to the rest of the world.
AMANDA: Yeah, and sometimes it’s things like, I know people who just focus on customer service, and customer service processes. Or for example, my business has evolved to a point that, I worked on the marketing teams for banks for years. I started as a freelancer then ended up working for top banks as a contract marketer. And then people started coming to me, and they’re like, how’d you do this? Well guess what, do you know how many CFPs I train now, to help them with their own content marketing for their own businesses. Because I understand the compliance aspect of it, because of all the time I spent working with banks.
ANTHONY: For sure, for sure. Just having that sort of built-in knowledge is a huge advantage.
AMANDA: And a lot of people just don’t realize that the knowledge that they have is valuable. And not only do they not realize it’s valuable, they don’t realize that their brains are expensive and they can charge a good money for it.
ANTHONY: Very true. As a takeaway, if someone were to come to you and say, hey, I’m ready to start learning. Amanda, I’d like to learn from you of how to monetize, or how to make my first dollar online. How do you start that process, or do you even speak to clients until they get to a certain point?
AMANDA: I don’t typically speak to people who haven’t made their first dollar yet. Unless they’ve been blogging for awhile for example, and then they’re starting to get approached with opportunities, or they’re starting to notice patterns, and they’re starting to realize, whoa, there’s a business here. I just gotta figure out the business model. So typically unless you’re in that position, I won’t speak with you. Not one-on-one anyway. However, you do have an option. If you’re just getting started in this world and you’re not understanding how to turn that online influence into money, I do have a free class which teaches you six different ways that you can monetize your influence online. And it explains how I made $65,000 with my influence, even when no-one knew who I was. So, this was before I had the 27,000 Twitter followers or the 17,000 Instagram followers. Or an email list with thousands of people. And I still was able to make that money. So they can actually grab that at amandaabella.com/influencer and it’s totally free. I think if you’re in a position where you’re still starting to wrap your head around all of this, that’s probably the best place to start.
ANTHONY: Awesome, thank you for that. Make sure you sign up there, and is that an online course?
AMANDA: Yeah, it’s a free webinar. It’s a free class and I do it every week.
ANTHONY: Awesome, very cool. And how else can folks get in touch with you, or follow you, just to see what’s going on?
AMANDA: So, I’m on Twitter and Instagram. Those are my base, those are my social media base. And that you can find at amandaabella.com. I’m on Facebook, Coach Amanda Abella. Or you can go to my website, amandaabella.com. That’s where you’re gonna find links to my podcast, blog posts, like the one I mentioned about four ways to make an extra $1,000. That’s probably be a good place to start, too. Since I just published it this morning. You can basically binge on all my past content. Because there’s about eight years worth of knowledge in those blog posts and podcasts.
ANTHONY: Fantastic, and even just this short talk alone, I feel like we’ve dropped several good tips on how to just really get started.
AMANDA: Yeah, and I like to focus on what’s gonna make money the fastest. And I’m gonna be totally frank, it’s because I wasted so much time not making money, that now I’m like, I need to help people avoid the mistake that I made. But it turned out okay, because that’s just part of what makes me so good at what I do. Is I’m like, nope, that’s not gonna make money. Go over here.
ANTHONY: Hey, you know, that efficiency is what we’re all about here. So, on board for that. All right Amanda, I wanna be respectful of your time. Thank you so much for jumping on, and dropping all this knowledge on our listeners. Remember everyone, you can go to amandaabella.com/ Is it influencers?
AMANDA: Yeah, influencer, and then they can get access to that free class.
ANTHONY: Make sure you visit there, otherwise, don’t forget to hit the follow button or subscribe, and go to anthonyspark.com to sign up for our email list for regular updates and exclusive offers. Thanks again Amanda, talk to you all soon. Take care.