How and Why I Launched My 1st Online Business During the Pandemic

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It happened! I launched my first online business in October 26, 2020 during the COVID pandemic. You might be wondering what business it could possibly be and how it all came about. Let me tell you all about it in this post.

The why

I have long wanted to have a business or even a revenue-generating side hustle. I started Frugal Asian Finance as a hobby and a side project a couple of years ago.

I indeed have made a four-figure amount from the blog after monetizing it a year ago. In a way, you can say that the blog is a revenue-producing side hustle.

Besides Frugal Asian Finance, I recently launched a new blog where I talk about my experience breaking into the tech industry and share my advice with others who want to do the same.

After I started working as a software engineer, I have gotten a lot of questions and requests for phone calls. I want to give back and be helpful and have talked to quite a few people to offer them advice on transitioning into tech.

At one point, however, I started to wonder if I could start a coaching business on the side. I offer free content on the blog. And I only have so many hours in a day.

Fear

And that thought alone made me feel guilty. What if people think I’m greedy? What if my friends don’t like me anymore since I’m trying to make money? What if people think I have nothing of value to coach them on? What if this business model is not scalable since it will be one-on-one coaching, and I need to think of something more scalable?

And I entered a state of not doing anything about the idea (aka inertia).

I brought up the idea with Mr. FAF. He said that I should spend my free time improving my coding skills instead. He made a great point. And I totally agree that’s exactly what I need to do.

At the same time, I have been overworking myself these past six months after starting the software engineer job, if not earlier. I spent most of my waking moments doing work, and I was starting to feel a bit burned out.

Even my manager and my mentor told me to not work so much. I started thinking about the hobbies I could pursue. I watched Netflix and some of my old favorite TV shows and soon got bored.

The only fun idea that kept coming back to me was starting and growing my own business. Just thinking about it made me happy. To me, it’s not just about making money. It’s about building and growing something for myself that offers value to others and can help us build up our finances.

The how

On October 26, I started to feel lost and stressed about work. I have been working whenever I could and even on the weekends. I was getting burned out from it. In a way, I felt like I was preventing myself from pursuing something that would bring me joy.

I wanted to take a break from work, but I didn’t know what else to do besides doing housework and watching my kids. Then I had a change of heart. I will still write free content on my blog. And I will also offer coaching sessions.

If people find value in my free content and want to work with me more closely, I will let them decide. I am in no way forcing anyone to pay to learn about my experience in tech. I have all of that on the blog for free. And I did research on what other bloggers and YouTuber offer for their coaching sessions to learn from their business model.

I installed a booking calendar plugin for WordPress, wrote up the description of the services I offer, and published them. And that’s how my first online business was born.

I felt a sense of accomplishment and relief from just launching the services on my blog. I was happy to put myself out there and overcome my own hesitation to start a new business of my own. It’s been a couple of months since the launch, and I have received 0 requests.

But I still feel super happy. I haven’t marketed my services heavily since part of me is still afraid how people might judge me. My next step will be to overcome my own fear and focus on the marketing side of things.

Business model

Types of services

For the 1:1 coaching sessions, I offer two main types of services.

1. How to start a WordPress site & online business

All the research and Googling I have done over the past 3.5 years to grow Frugal Asian Finance and my second blog now comes in handy. I offer 1:1 coaching sessions to help others set up their WordPress blog, write blog posts, and grow an audience, and make an income from blogging.

2. How to change careers into tech

I personally have taught myself how to code and transitioned into the tech industry. I want to coach others to make the career change that they desire.

As the sessions are on one-on-one basis, it won’t be scalable right away. But I think it’s a great first model for me to learn about the clients and how they can help them.

In the future, I can scale it up with online courses or digital products. But first, I myself need to understand the market and what value I can offer to my clients.

Hours

I plan to have coaching sessions 1-4 PM on the weekends when our daugter naps and Mr. FAF and my son do their own fun stuff in their rooms. We all need some quiet time from each other.

Pricing

You might be wondering how much I charge for each session. I thought about this a lot. Ultimately, I am not trying to make a living from this project, so I won’t try to get as many clients as I can.

It all comes down to how much I value my time, and I decided to charge $75/hour.

3. Online courses

I offer two online courses for $125 each. One of them has generated a couple of sales. The other one has not.

4. Ebook

I also have an ebook on sale for $9.99 per copy. This ebook has also generates close to 10 sales.

Frugal Asian Finance

After a lot of thoughts, I decided to launch the same services on Frugal Asian Finance. You can see the details on this page. Since I blog anonymously, I will only have audio calls with clients.

1. How to Build a WordPress Site & Business (coaching)

I remember feeling lost and frustrated trying to figure things out on WordPress on multiple occasions when I first started. I Googled and asked other bloggers to find answers to my questions. And I believe you can as well.

However, that process, though educational and helpful, was time-consuming and frustrating. If someone wants to square themselves the headache and have a live coach who can point them in the right direction, I would be happy to have a call. Recently, I helped a friend set up a blog in just a couple of calls, so the knowledge is still pretty fresh in my mind.

You can click here to check out what the coaching session is all about 🙂

2. Beautiful budget planner (ebook)

I actually started this project in 2017. I just resumed and finished this ebook recently. The ebook is based on my experience budgeting and planning for our family to keep our expenses low and savings high. With my plan, Mr. FAF and I have paid off our mortgage and are saving up for our second home. You can check out the planner here.

I am both nervous and excited to take the next step to gear the blog into a more entrepreneurial direction after almost four years of launching it.

Conclusion

What I found myself fearing the most was not a potential failure but rather being judged by others. One reason why I didn’t launch my services on Frugal Asian Finance first is because I’m worried what my readers and other bloggers might think of me.

But I also realized that as long as I offer quality content and useful services, I have nothing to be ashamed of.

There are countless others bloggers who have successfully launched their online businesses on their blogs, and I really look up to them. I do think they provide a lot of value to the reader while building a business that supports themselves and their family.

And I want to do the same for my audience, myself, and my family.


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