How I Run My $500,000 Brand in Just 20 Hrs/Week

In a matter of just a few years, I went from earning $20,000/year to earning more than $40,000/month. In that same period of time, I also went from working 50 hours a week down to just 20 hours. 

Today, rather than making around $8/hour in my brick and mortar music school, I make roughly $375/hour with my online business, finally achieving the flexibility and freedoms I sought when I started as an entrepreneur nearly 16 years ago.

But how did I do this? How do I run my $500,000 brand in just 20 hours a week? 

Recognizing the need for change

It’s easy for impostor syndrome to creep in when starting out in business, wondering if you have what it takes, looking around believing others are more capable and that’s why they are finding success in the online space.

But that’s just not the truth. 

I’m the same person I was back when I worked 50-plus hours a week in my music school. I haven’t changed.

So what did?

How I thought about making money changed. I learned that different business models have the potential of earning different amounts of profit. 

Though I enjoyed teaching private music lessons, it was a very active way of making money. I traded literal hours for dollars because I could only make money while doing billable work — which only happened when I was physically with my students.

To increase my income without increasing my hours, I needed to change the business model I was using. And to do this, I’d need to 1) offer something more valuable than music lessons or 2) offer something scalable. I needed something I could sell thousands of units of that didn’t limit me to the amount of time I could dedicate to my work.

From local services to online digital products

Because of this, I decided to try my hand at the “online business” game. I found that I could create a product one time and sell it over and over again. Local services capped my income, but the online space essentially made it limitless. 

Now, I’m not going to say that the switch was easy. That would be highly misleading!

I had to work for it. I tested a ton of different product ideas (some falling flat) until I found the one that worked for me: Startup Society. When I first launched my flagship membership program, I planned a 2-week vacation… and managed to bring in $20,000 while away. That’s the moment that I knew selling digital products was the right business model for me.

How I run a $500K business in 20 hours a week

But how is it possible to have a $500,000 brand without working 50-plus hours a week? 

I put about 20 hours of work in each week, and the interesting thing is that basically none of the categories I work in are billable hours. Customers pay my company for the results they get, not for the amount of time I spend with them. 

Here’s a breakdown of how I spend working hours each week: 

  • 2 hours = paid content creation
  • 1 hour = customer service 
  • 6 hours = admin/team management
  • 11 hours = marketing/free content creation

See, it really doesn’t matter how much time I spend creating a product. What matters is the kind of transformation I can help my students achieve… that’s what they are paying me for. 

And that is what has made my business scalable. I’m able to sell the same product over and over again because:

  1. It’s digital, so the cost/unit is $0.
  2. it does what it promises to do.
  3. I’ve found a niche that is looking for that specific outcome.

Are you ready to scale your online business?

Maybe you’re still deciding what business to start… or maybe you have an online business but you’re working to scale

If you’re looking for direction on how to 1) launch your business online, 2) build your brand, or 3) create consistent monthly income, then I have you covered!

This is exactly what we do in Startup Societywe help entrepreneurs build scalable online businesses that sell digital products and earn passive income. 

This week, I challenge you to think about what product you could sell at scale, whether it’s writing a book, creating an online course, developing an app, or something else. This will start you on the journey of moving from active-hours-for-dollars work to creating a consistent monthly income with a scalable business model.

Gillian Perkins

Hi, I’m Gillian! I’m a marketing strategist who helps online entrepreneurs 10X their sales with FB ads + sales funnels. I love combining tech, analytics, and psychology to create powerful marketing systems. When I’m not helping my clients scale their businesses, I’m spending time with my husband and two little boys, exploring new places, or seeking out choice espresso.