Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of Maple Money, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.
In this digital age, there are lots of ways to make extra money on the side. This week, we take a close look at an opportunity we haven’t really explored in previous episodes – Facebook Ads. My guest this week is Bobby Hoyt, from Millennial Money Man. Bobby started his blog a few years back, after paying off over $40,000 in student loans.
What I find interesting about Bobby’s story, is that he grew his blog using Facebook ads, and then started a digital marketing agency, helping other businesses grow using Facebook as well. Eventually, he joined forces with an old high school buddy, and together they created Laptop Empires, a website and podcast designed to help people increase their income through online side hustles.
In this episode, Bobby walks us through his flagship product, The Facebook Side Hustle Course. He explains why, today, running Facebook Ads for local businesses is one of the best ways to make money online. Bobby shares some of the ins and outs of managing ads, including how to tell if the ad you’ve created is translating into sales for your client. According to Bobby, it is possible to earn $1000/month, per client, with just a few hours of work every week. In fact, many who have taken his course are doing just that. Find out more, here on The MapleMoney Show!
Robo-advisors have transformed the investment market in recent years, but for a lot of people, it’s still a new concept. So, it’s no surprise that many still have questions. Our sponsor this week, Wealthsimple, makes it easy, allowing you to book a 15-minute call with one of their experienced portfolio managers. To book your call, head over to Wealthsimple today!
- What prompted Bobby’s start into blogging
- Why you should think about increasing your income
- Walkthrough of the Facebook Side Hustle Course
- Finding clients for your Facebook side hustle
- How much will businesses pay for Facebook Ads
- Why it’s possible to make $1000/month, per client
- Measuring the success of a Facebook ad campaign
There are lots of ways to make money on the side especially in this digital age. We’ve covered a few in more generalized episodes but I want to dive into one of those opportunities this week. Bobby Hoyt started Millennial Money Man after paying off $40,000 in student loans. But what I found interesting is that he grew his site with Facebook ads and also ran a digital marketing agency to help other businesses get customers through Facebook. Today Bobby is joining us to go through how you can start your own Facebook side-hustle and make decent money once you land that first client.
Welcome to the Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Robo advisors have really revolutionized the investing market over the last few years. But as it’s a new concept, you might have some questions. Thanks to our sponsor, Wealthsimple, you can book a 15 minute, no obligation call with an experienced portfolio manager. To book your call simply head over to maplemoney.com/wealthsimplechat. Now, here’s Bobby…
Tom: Hi Bobby, welcome to The Maple Money Show.
Bobby: Hey, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
Tom: I know you’ve got a unique side-hustle. We like to cover ways to make money. I find that’s probably the best way to improve your personal finances. When I first became interested in personal finance and started doing the whole blogging thing I was huge on frugality. Eventually it hit a point where I could only cut so much of my utilities and such and still survive so I came to the realization a side-hustle was probably the better way to go to improve your finances.
Bobby: It was the same thing for me. When I started Millennium Money Man, the whole story was based on me paying off my student loans. I had lived at my in-laws house, cut all my expenses and drove this really old truck with roll up windows. Everything was frugality and I was ultra frugal. All of my content in the beginning was on how to be cheap. As I’ve gotten a little bit older and started to make more money this whole thing is so much easier when you increase your income. Like you said, you can only cut down so much and all of a sudden you can’t do anything else so you ask, what’s next? So, I totally agree. Increasing the income is the way to go.
Tom: I also found that in a career there’s only so much you can do there too. You can’t really force them to give you a raise but with some kind of side-gig you kind of have your destiny in your own hands. You can do something that will increase your income every month.
Bobby: Right. When I started off my business I quit my job just so I could run Millennial Money Man. But I found out very quickly that blogging is not exactly the fastest way to make money. I had to start doing other things like freelance writing and running Facebook ads for companies and all sorts of stuff to bring in this extra side-hustle income while I grew Millennial Money Man. Just being able to do that and having the skill-set to go out and go get money on demand has been huge for me over the last couple of years—even if you’re in a salary position. I see it all the time with my readers where they’re in a salaried position waiting for a raise looking for some kind of side-hustle on the side. They increase their income more than they could have with a raise sometimes. It’s been really cool to watch stuff like that.
Tom: Other than blogging, let’s talk about your other side-hustle. Can you walk us through what it is and how you stumbled into this?
Bobby: Basically, we created the Facebook side-hustle course in January of 2018. It’s me and my business partner, Mike, over at Laptop Empires. The way that this whole thing came about was I was a band director who paid off a whole bunch of student loan debt and started blogging about that. At the same time, I kind of hated my job. I realized I was entrepreneur at heart and I just needed to do something else. I eventually just took the leap of faith. I quit my job. I had made something like $3 with display ads but I was sure I could do this. I was still young enough to I think I would be able to make it work. I was living at my in-laws house with this crazy, super-cheap, living situation. I quit my job and started working on the blog. And like I mentioned earlier, it was so slow. For the first three months I thought, “Oh my God! This is not good. I blew it. I’m an idiot. Why was I thinking I could do this blogging thing?” I started to get kind of desperate which happens when the money starts running out. The guy that made my wife’s engagement ring is a jeweler who owned a pretty decently sized jewelry company in Houston here. He was into the blog. He had paid off a lot of student loan debt and was reading Millennial Money Man continuously. One day he said, “My website is really bad and our marketing is really bad. Do you think you can help even if it’s just freelance writing or whatever?” And I said, of course, because I was so desperate. Eventually, it turned into me handling all of their marketing while I was still trying to grow Millennial Money Man. I started this side digital marketing agency where I had no idea what I was doing. But they were really patient with me because I was a hard worker. And that, a lot of times, will help a lot if you’re trying to do something for another business. If you side-hustle really hard—even if you don’t know what you’re doing, they’ll give you some leeway sometimes. One day he said they had to run Facebook ads and asked if I could do that for them. I told him I didn’t know how to do that—I had no idea. But, I just said yes because when you’re in that situation you just say, “Yes, I can do that,” then you learn how to do it. And so I did. I basically started just deep-diving into Facebook ads and how they work. That eventually led to me getting other clients and kind of stacking a couple of clients on top of each other. So that’s how I was bringing money in while I grew Millennial Money Man. Eventually, Millennial Money Man became the big breadwinner. I was doing all that on the side for a long time. Then I met my business partner, Mike. We went to high school together. He had started a Facebook ad agency. He saw what I was doing with Millennial Money Man and reached out to me saying, “Yeah, you know, I’ve been running a Facebook ad agency and just wanted to connect,” because, as you know, when you work online there’s not a whole lot of interaction with people sometimes so you kind of gravitate towards other people.
Tom: Yeah, it’s a lonely job.
Bobby: We just started talking on the phone about side-hustles. I was talking about wanting to have something for my audience to do that wasn’t online surveys and was high-value, low time commitment, yet scalable. He said running Facebook ads was the best side-hustle in the world. I had never thought of it that way before but he was right. I had been doing it for years. You charge great money. The normal retainer is a $1,000 to $1,500 per client. I figured that was a good idea. So, in the course of six to eight weeks we basically created the Facebook side-hustle course. I asked the Millennial Money Man audience if they were interested in this because I could teach them how to run Facebook ads as a side-hustle for local businesses. The response was huge. We had about 1,000 people jump on the waiting list as soon as we announced it. So we launched in January and it did really, really well. It just blew up and that’s how we kind of created Laptop Empires. And that business has been growing ever since. The Facebook side-hustle course is our flagship product. We have other ones, but that’s the main one. It’s just been really cool. We’ve got about a 1,000 people in our coaching community for that course now. I want to say we have somewhere between 12 and 15 people that are in our Five-K Club where they’re making $5,000 or more per month running Facebook ads for clients. We have a lot of people that have quit their jobs or are on the path to quit their jobs. And we have a bunch of people that are just doing it on the side which is what we originally designed it for. It’s been great. It’s been a great thing for everybody. And it’s been cool to see people that weren’t sure they could be entrepreneurial making money on the side go from making no money to all, to all of a sudden stacking clients on top of each other—and really enjoying what they are doing. It’s kind of a long-winded story—how the whole thing kind of developed. But that was really the main idea, to make a great side-hustle for people to help them reach their financial goals like paying off debt, investing and saving more.
Tom: I don’t want to get too much into how to set up an ad because this isn’t that kind of show but one of the questions that had that gets a little into that is, is some of this natural talent or can it be a learned skill? I’ve done Facebook ads and I feel like I don’t have it in me to make the right images sometimes. There’s a creative side there that maybe I don’t have.
Bobby: Mike was a former lawyer before he started running Facebook ads and I was a band director so our idea was; if we could figure this out, anybody could. We structured the course to be completely step-by-step with over-the-shoulder style videos. You see our screen basically and a little circle on the bottom. You can see our head—see us talking to you but you also see what we click on. We teach step-by-step; here is the process, here’s how it works. Here’s how you create the ad. We have a whole section on just selecting images. It’s all a skill. It’s not necessarily a talent thing. What we teach is local lead generation. We’re trying to get more people in the door for the business owner. It’s not your responsibility to sell once they get there. That’s the business owner’s responsibility. We’re just getting them there. The cool thing about local lead gym for Facebook is that it’s actually kind of the easiest ad to run. Because, in terms of targeting audiences you have to target with your ads, it’s really pretty simple. You’re doing something more like geographic targeting. The ads themselves are very simple compared to if you were doing e-commerce or something like. Even what a lot of people in our industry do with running ads to blogs—that’s quite a bit more complicated. The Facebook lead gym for local businesses is really simple and that’s what makes this work so well. We get people that don’t have any tech experience at all that go through the course and know how to run the ads by the time they’re done. On top of that we have a coaching and support community that’s attached to the course. We’ve hired Facebook ad experts—people that own their own agencies in addition to me and Mike. We’re in there 24/7 pretty much to answer any questions. So, if you’re running an ad for a client and you’re not confident about an image you can ask us for our opinion. You just post it and we go, “Nah, don’t use that. Use this instead.” Or they post their stats and we go, “Hmm, you know those stats aren’t great. You need to do this, this, and this. Here’s your step-by-step checklist,” and boom, they’re off and running. I think the support element on top of the step-by-step instruction has made it so successful so far. We have a lot of fun in that group too, so that’s cool too.
Tom: If someone wanted to start doing this, how did they get that first client? Is it just finding someone you know? How does that work? Are you going door to door?
Bobby: In the course we include nine or 10 client acquisition strategies. We started the course with about five different ones. It could be cold email, cold calling, or what we call “inner circle” where you reach out to business owners that you know. We’ve also done Facebook groups so you can interact in Facebook groups and all that. But what we found over the first six months is that, depending on people’s personality types, they’ll go for a different type of client acquisition strategy. I’m an introvert. I would never pick up the phone and cold call somebody. That’s just so far out of my comfort zone. We’ve included a lot of things for introverts like creating an UpWork profile and optimizing it to where you can actually attract people on UpWork or LinkedIn. We have a whole strategy on LinkedIn that we’ve created where you can use your LinkedIn profile to get clients. Then we have the Facebook group method, like I mentioned, that’s fully online where we have these “fully online” solutions for getting clients that work really well. Then for the extroverts—Mike is an extrovert so he’s totally cool with phone calls and sales and that kind of stuff. We have strategies for that too. We even give you a phone script with eight questions you ask to see if the client is a good fit for you. Between all of those strategies, I think we’ve really found something for everybody. Our normal advices is to pick one or two of the strategies we teach and go really hard on those instead of trying to do everything. We’ve found that people have the most success with that and that’s when they start to stack two three four five clients on top of each other without having to have a ton of sales experience. Actually, really no sales experience because, again, the course was designed for people that don’t have any experience doing this at all. We’ve found that a lot of people with those different options have had a lot of success.
Tom: How does this work out for the businesses? They’re paying a minimum of $1,000 and they’re paying for the ads too. Do they often find value in this?
Bobby: Well, yeah. The good thing about Facebook is that you can actually track the leads you bring in. You can show the business owner you ran X-amount of dollars in ad spend this month and the business got this many leads. And through communicating with the client you can figure out how many they closed. That $1,000 number is always really scary to our students initially because from a personal finance perspective $1,000 is a lot of money. But when you start to look at local brick and mortar businesses and how they’ve got payroll, rent, insurance and all these other costs, that $1,000 (in that perspective) is quite a bit less, especially if you’re basically saying, “We’re going to get more people in the door and get you more customers.” A lot of times the students are more worried about the $1,000 a month retainer than the business owner is. And then the ad spend on top of that—the business owner is responsible for that. That’s standard in any marketing. The business owner usually pays the ad spend but we recommend $15 a day for local. That comes out to about $450 a month. And so they’re all in cost is about 1,450. But if they can spend $1,450 or $1,500 a month and make $5,000 per month in new business it’s a win-win. It’s like basically printing money for themselves. And it’s proven. It’s not like a billboard ad where they’re not quite sure exactly how many people might have come in. They can get a rough estimate by surveying their customers but you can provide hard data. The cool thing too is that you can automate the leads. We teach you how to do this in the course. It will send the contact information. You can do it through text message or email and it will go directly to the business owner. We teach you how to work with them to close on those leads really quickly. For example, if it’s a real estate lead, if they get somebody who’s interested in a listing we teach the business owner too. Because not all business owners are great at sales. We teach them how to follow up with that client and get success because that makes you look better. That helps everybody. We have a full system for how all of this works.
Tom: If it’s something that anyone can learn, why aren’t businesses doing this themselves?
Bobby: What it really comes down to—and I just know this from my own experience running a business is, it’s a time thing most of the time. You’ve got all these different hats you have to wear as a business owner so sitting down to take a course or educate yourself on how to do the lead gym—it’s easier to just outsource it. We do have some small business owners that take our course and jump in because they want to do it themselves. But the vast majority of business owners would rather offload that to somebody else. That’s really the big thing. It’s mostly a time thing. It’s something where they don’t have the energy or the manpower to do it internally so they just outsource it. And it’s cheaper that way.
Tom: The only other thing I was kind of wondering here is you mentioned stacking clients. Let’s say someone’s got five clients now. Does that take a lot of time in setting up these ads? Is it sort of set it and forget it? Or is there a lot of monitoring and tweaking?
Bobby: This is another reason why this all works so well and why when Mike and I came up with the idea it was such a homerun. Facebook ads are great in that they don’t take a lot of tweaking. Actually, the more you mess with them, the worse they do. Thinking of the Facebook algorithm, it’s fairly sensitive. If you make a lot of changes and tweaks to the ads a lot of times you’ll see the performance kind of dies off. It’s actually better if you create the ad and just let it run. We tell you how to evaluate really quickly as to whether it’s going to be a good ad or not. But once they’re running, they typically just run and generate the leads. You can just kind of set it and forget it. We tell people to check in once a week to just make sure everything’s kind of working well. Really, what it takes is about two to three hours per week, per client. Just talking to the client and making sure everything’s cool seeing if they have some different offer they want to do. Most of the time, part of this is in the initial setup. You get the client you get them to agree to the retainer. Everybody’s excited, and then you’ve got to craft an offer. We’ve got tons of training on this but the offer is really important. If it’s a gym, are they doing some kind of 7-day boot camp thing? Or, if it’s a dentist, is it a free teeth cleaning session or something like that? You’ve got to work with the business owner to create a great offer. Once you do that, the ad part is pretty simple. It’s just writing good ad copy (which we have full training on), picking a good image and then setting the target radius basically. Then you’re just running that offer. You’ll find out very quickly—usually within 24 hours, if this particular ad going to work. That’s when the group comes in and people post their stats in the group or they post their ads and say, “Hey, can you tweak this copy for me?” And copy is just words that sell. They’re the words you see on an ad (for anybody that’s wondering). It’s a fairly simple and time-leveraged process which is why people are able to stack clients on top of each other and take this fulltime. If you five clients you’re looking at about 15 hours a week so it’s easy for people to work on getting more clients.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. I guess that is half the battle. You want to make sure you keep those clients coming in. I’m assuming there is occasionally turnover and everything too?
Bobby: I’m not going to sit here and say every client you have, you’re going to have for the next 15 years. But what we do (and what we think is really important) is teach you how to kind of screen the clients. That eight questions sales template that I talked about earlier is not necessarily as much for you to close a sale as it is for you to figure out if this is somebody you’re going to like working with. There are plenty of awesome business owners that are great to work with but there are plenty of business owners that aren’t very great at owning a business that you don’t want to work with. We teach you from the beginning how to find the quality ones that are going to be somebody that sticks with you for a long time. They’re enjoyable to work with. This is supposed to be a side-hustle. This isn’t supposed to be ultra stressful for everybody involved or a bad situation. If you’ve got a gym owner that’s kind of struggling financially that just started their gym two months ago, that might not be a great client. But if you’ve got somebody that’s established for the last five years, they have the budget, these are all things we teach you to filter out so you can find the good business owners that stick around for a long time.
Tom: This sounds like a great way that someone can try and make money. Just find that one client just to start out. If they can make an extra $1,000 a month that makes a big difference to someone that already has a job as well. I like this idea. Can you let everybody know where they can find you online and where they can find this course we’ve been talking about?
Bobby: I guess we can post a link in the show comments to the actual course but it’s on laptopemires.com/fbsidehustle. Then you can just go read the sales page and see what it’s about. The course isn’t always open. We close it down. We’ll open it for enrollment. There is a waiting list and basically that’s just because when we do open it we get a lot of people in. And so we like to close down the course and get those people set and rolling. But you can join the wait list and we’ll let you know when it opens up. You can just go there and read the sales page. We’ve got testimonials. We’ve got every question you possibly have about the course. We’ve addressed that there. And that’s pretty much it. Just go there and check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Tom: And tell people where they can find you on Millennial Money Man.
Bobby: That’s millennialmoneyman.com. Then all of my social media handles are GenYMoneyMan. It’s just a pretty normal personal finance blog. I just help you save more money and make more money. I’m around all the time.
Tom: Great. Thanks for being on the show.
Bobby: Thank you.
Thanks Bobby for walking us through how someone can start a side gig with Facebook ads. You can find the show notes for this episode at maplemoney.com/bobbyhoyt. If you want to check out his course, head over to maplemoney.com/facebooksidehustle. I want to share a great review I had in iTunes. Sara Butter said, “Awesome podcast on Canadian finance. I used to listen to other podcasts but they’re from the States. This one really gravitates with me as we hear more about familiar investment vehicles. I’ve just finished all the podcasts and can no longer binge them all in my long drives. Love the podcast. Good job, Tom.” Thanks for that review Sara Butter. This review is really motivating, but to keep me humble I’ll read you one next week from the less impressed listener. If you head over to iTunes and leave a review it would really help me out. I might read it out on a future episode. Thanks for listening and I look forward to seeing you back here next week when Dean Kendall will be joining us to point out some of the hidden investment fees that you may not even realize you’re paying.