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Case Study: How Claire used Craigslist to make $8,000 on the side

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7 25 4

You’ll notice some classic things in this case study of Claire, one of my Earn1K students who earned over $8,000 on the side:

  • She already had a $50K-a-year job, but with the terrible economy and layoffs, she wanted to add another source of income
  • She didn’t want to spend 40 hours a week on a second job — it had to be part-time, and scale with her time
  • She had been charging close to nothing, and wasn’t sure how to go from $10/hr to a real hourly rate

Yet over time, she was able to raise her rate to $50/hour. She’s built a system for finding new clients (note: she’s not committing the cardinal sin of depending on willpower or “trying harder”). And she’s earned over $8,000.

Let’s find out how she did it.

“I want to be in control of my future.”

While Claire made $50,000 a year as a graphic designer for a health insurance company, she knew it was risky putting all her eggs in one basket.

“I like my day job,” Claire said, “but with the economy being the way it is and with health insurance being so volatile, there’s not a ton of job security. That why I wanted a second income stream. I want to be in control of my future.”

Claire also wanted another outlet for her creativity. She had done small, pet projects for family and friends in the past, but they were infrequent. “And I only charged $10 an hour. Or nothing. I didn’t know how to make that leap from helping out friends to making real money on the side.”

That’s why she signed up for Earn1K, my flagship course on earning money on the side. “There’s a lot of bad and generic and cliche advice out there. What you said just felt more true. You understand psychology and cut through the crap.”

Claire set a goal of earning $1,000 in six months and started working through the lessons.

“That’s how I got my first $1,000.”

When she started Earn1K, Claire was a little nervous. While she wanted to earn some money on the side, she didn’t want to work around the clock or get a long list of clients. Her shyness also kept her from doing informational interviews. The result? She didn’t pursue any clients during the first two-and-a-half modules of the course.

That’s when she got to the 23-minute Earn1K video on how to get more leads using classified ads. Included in that lesson is a 10-minute video showing you step-by-step how to dominate Craigslist in just minutes a day.

Before she took the course, Claire had tried using Craigslist to find clients. “I randomly responded to Craigslist ads and never got a response. I’d try but was never really committed.”

After the Craigslist lesson in Earn1K, Claire quickly signed her first client. “That’s how I got my first $1,000. I made that in a month and a half from that lesson. And I probably made $6,000 off that first client.”

That’s the power of an effective system over willpower.

“The Craigslist lesson gave me a concrete way to generate leads. This was much more systematic. And I was hesitant to reach out and call people cold. But the Craigslist prospects are already looking. It was good to know they were already looking and already liked something about me from my response.”

How Claire found her first client on Craigslist

The first thing Claire learned from the classified ad lesson is that she was going about her search all wrong. Before she could even make use of the Craigslist Penis Effect, she had to find relevant and timely ads.

Claire used the tactics in Earn1K to completely rebuild her approach:

“Before, I’d find postings two weeks old, write them an email and never get a response. My emails were pretty good, but my search was random and too slow.”

Now Claire uses Google Reader to quickly find the needles in the Craigslist haystacks.

“What you helped me understand is that Craiglist will deliver tons of crap,” Claire said. “I do it through Google Reader just like the lesson. I can scan through hundreds of postings in no time. Right now, I haven’t signed in in five days. I have 119 potential leads in my Reader. That would take me 10 minutes to scan, and I could probably find 1-2 qualified leads in there.”

From there, Claire emails the qualified leads.

“I used a template. It says I saw your ad. This is what I do. I specialize in…then fill in what they’re doing. And I added in a no-risk teaser offer. I’d be happy to do this small thing for you. Then I’d put a link to my website and maybe attach some samples. The whole thing doesn’t take long to send out.

“And, if I don’t get a response, that’s okay. I didn’t invest that much time. There will be more leads next time.”

A week after setting up her system, Claire sent out 50 emails. Many of those emails were sent the same day, even the same hour that the ad posted..

“From that first batch, I got two clients. My third client was a referral. I’ve actually had to start turning down projects with them because there’s just so much work!”

“I now have the confidence that I can get more clients.”

With an effective and efficient system in place for finding leads, Claire is feeling good about the future.

“I still have my day job as a graphic designer. And I’m doing some work on the side. About 5-20 hours a week at $50 an hour. I’ve slowed down for awhile because I’m about to get married, but I love that I can scale this process up or down as I need. I now have the confidence that I can get more clients.”

Does Claire have plans to use any of the other lead generation strategies from Earn1K?

“Not at the moment. I have all the work I can handle at the moment. If I need more, then I always have that Plan B. Earn1K not only holds me accountable but gives me concrete pointers on how to get in contact with potential clients. That’s what I wanted and expected. You delivered on your promises.”

Total earned using Earn1K: $8,000

Hourly rate: Old freelance rate ($0-$10/hour); New freelance rate ($50/hour)

What you would be doing without Earn1K: “Probably nothing. The blog is really helpful. It attests to how knowledgeable your are. But Earn1K really made me accountable. Made me follow through.”

What you would tell others considering joining the course: “Take the lessons seriously. Follow them to a T. Don’t just read it and follow it half-way. You have to just do it.”

 

Sign up FREE to watch an exclusive excerpt of the Earn1K video Claire used to start earning thousands of dollars on the side

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16 Comments

7 25 4
 
  1. Congrats Claire! I am always happy to read success stories!

  2. That’s really impressive, earning an extra $8k while still having a full time day job. Nice work Claire! I’ll check out the Earn1k site, I could definitely do with a bit of extra cash coming my way.

  3. Fantastic job Claire!

    Craigslist can be a maze but training your mind to automatically pick up certain keywords and formats is what makes the process easy as pie.

    I just wanted to also mention that a while back I had found one of these posts that also shared the email template. Well, I began to roll out my own based on the inspiration from posts like these; surely enough, I was able to land a few freelance writing clients through the template which made the entire process streamlined.

    After reading this – I think I’ll be getting back into landing some new leads.

    Awesome job!

  4. This is very inspiring! I also do writing jobs but I get clients from an outsourcing site. I am afraid I may not get paid if I deal directly with clients, considering that the transaction is via online only.

  5. Good work, Claire! I’m struggling with a side gig that I feel doesn’t pay what I’m worth. Is there any way to negotiate with someone who has set the terms?

    • Jeanie Witcraft Link to this comment

      You can tell them that you have to choose between {side gig} and a new job paying what you think you’re worth, but you have a relationship with {side gig} and would like to continue working with them. Bit of a gamble, but it’s better than struggle, eh?

  6. Awesome post. Many people think Craiglist for granted, especially Internet marketers, without realizing that a lot of money is made, thanks to it, every single day. Posts like this and the many else out there show that there’s still a lot of gold that hasn’t been mined with Craiglist.

  7. Thanks for this post, Ramit! Since I’ve taken the Earn1K course, I’ve generated $2,490 and leads keep coming my way. Before I was good at what I did but had no idea to manage clients, manage expectations etc. Now I bring value to clients, manage the flow of a project and it’s awesome.

  8. I’ve read this 3 times now, and this morning used it to revamp my email template for freelance gigs. Now I have a much stronger email that I can test and modify. Even better, I’ve refined what I’m looking for in what makes a project I want to be part of, as well as ones to steer clear of.

    This has been a big help in improving my system and making project prospecting more efficient. Thanks!

  9. I was in the first Earn1k and have had a lot of success with Craigslist. Last Monday, I applied for 10 freelance jobs, and got one the same day. Then I applied to one more Thursday, and just got a call from them. Definitely helps to live in New York City. Thanks, Ramit!

  10. What an amazing case study!

    I can really appreciate how she approached craigslist systematically as opposed to haphazardly.

    Something I’ve realized over the past few years is that “trying harder” will always fall short to “having a system” and it was pretty neat to get a little sneak peek into how the craigslist strategy works too :-)

  11. I have spent way too much time on Craigslist over the years trying to find the perfect match and write the perfect email. I am definitely going to come up with a template, whoever responds will be interested in my services and on my terms. I feel better already.

  12. That is a great story. What a creative and amazing way to make an extra eight grand! And you gotta have a system for sure to succeed.

  13. What module/lesson is this specifically in the earn1k program?

  14. I think that is awesome!!