3 tips for would-be entrepreneurs, from a woman who started a business that earns up to $20,000 a month

In 2014, Susie Romans quit her job in marketing and sales to strike out on her own.

Today, her consulting business earns $15,000-$20,000 a month.

She’s able to charge over $1,000 for one-on-one coaching, and sell her insights in the form of courses for up to $975.

How does she do it? Romans shared with Business Insider her top three pieces of advice for would-be entrepreneurs who want to earn more.

1. Master your skill.

Romans says passion isn’t enough to start a high-earning business — you need to have skill. “Get good at something, because you need something to bring to the table,” she says. “I don’t want to mock the idea of following your passion, but you really have to have a skill, or expertise, or a story. Really highly skilled people and people with a high level of expertise can charge premium rates. You have to bring something to the table that’s impressive.”

2. Be smart about your business model.

Also, she says, you have to be smart about the way you build your business model. After years of maintaining a successful lifestyle blog that had 50,000-hit days, Romans realised she didn’t have a way to monetise it. Years later, she has some ideas.

One path to take is “positioning yourself as a premium brand and charging rates right out of the gate that allow you to pay your bills and your mortgage,” she says. “I have a family. I needed to make at least $4,000 a month. After that it led to $10,000, after that to $20,000. You can grow, but you can’t charge $20 an hour — you have to be positioned as a premium brand.”

Then, she says, it’s time to start getting serious about leverage. “I don’t want to be slaving away at 10, 12-hour days,” she explains. “You have to package what you have and sell it. I remember watching a YouTube video with Sara Blakely, who said she had this moment sitting at her desk thinking, ‘I need something I can sell to millions of women.’ You can’t be selling your one-on-one time — even if you’re speaking on stage, it’s still your time. You need a product that can reach millions.”

Another option Romans highlights is to have a really powerful story that connects with and inspires clients. “I have a client who had her first child at 42, and she has a powerful fertility story. She helps women struggling with fertility and says, ‘You can do it, too.’ Brendon Burchard had a near-death experience and built his whole business on his story.”

3. Refuse to stay down.

Once you have a marketable, expert skill and a way to sell it, you need faith. “You have to believe in yourself,” Romans says. “That’s something that’s been really strong for me. I don’t even know where it comes from. I have this fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up mentality. I don’t stay down.”

In fact, she says her belief in herself is so unshakable that she’s had people tell her she’s delusional. “When you believe in yourself so much, people wonder if you’re all there!” she says. With the corporate job she left, she remembers, “I had it made. They were paying me well, I could work from home, and I was getting bonuses, but there was something greater. I love inspiring people and helping others, and I knew I was meant for something bigger.”

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