Monetizing a Network: How Jodi Brandstetter Started Her Second Business

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Jodi Brandstetter is a consultant and serial entrepreneur with over two decades of recruiting experience. In 2018, she founded a consulting firm with an emphasis on helping small and mid-sized businesses in STEM hire better recruiters and talent. But after writing and marketing her first book on recruiting talent, Jodi realized that business leaders across industries needed a streamlined approach to publishing and promoting business books.

Drafting, writing, and editing a book are hard enough. But C-Suite executives and entrepreneurs then have to source book covers, format their book, decide on distribution channels, and figure out their marketing plan. It is too easy to get lost in the process and forget about writing and publishing a book altogether.

That’s why Jodi founded Influence Network Media in 2021. It’s a professional community that provides support and services for writing, publishing, and marketing books for business-leaders-turned-authors. Influence Network Media is more than a passion project—it’s a business in its own right.

We interviewed Jodi on the Cash Flow Show to learn how she started her network business from scratch.

What is a network business?

A network business is more than a forum or group, although many successful network platforms start off this way. Influence Network Media offers a combination of a free group, paid courses, and “do-it-for-you” concierge services. The free group provides access to a community of fellow business writers and supporters, while book production services are bundled into packages.

Setting up a second business with so many social elements can be time-consuming. For that reason, Jodi decided to bring on a partner. This would allow her to better balance her consulting business with the network and bring another set of skills into the business.

“I made that decision to find a partner who actually complements me,” says Jodi. “So I'm more of the Chief Operating Officer, and she is more the business development side. So we work well together in that perspective.”

From free to monetized services

Inside the free Influence Network Media group, potential clients can ask questions, interact with Jodi and her team, and meet with other business leaders. This both qualifies leads and gives the group and the network more authority.

These clients can choose to then buy a guided course to write, edit, publish, and market their book. Courses start at $799 and help clients figure out the perfect headshot to becoming a bestseller on Amazon.

Jodi outsources to independent contractors for work like design, book editing, ghostwriting, and other tasks. She also coaches authors who want hands-on experience.

“When I started my consulting business, I started with just a checking account and a business credit card,” notes Jodi. “And then I added accounts for my first business over time so that I could bucket my money. I now have one savings account that's just for taxes, and I have another one for a rainy day.”

The Influence Network Media’s signature offering is a multi-author book service, which is unique. In this service, an author can choose to take ownership over one chapter in a multi-author book. This can be extremely useful for influencers who are not ready to write a whole book but still want to expand their thought leadership.

If they want more assistance, potential clients can also choose to contact her team for a concierge service based on their budget. Jodi and her team will then locate ghostwriters, cover designers, and other professionals to get the book finished. The team can also help with market efforts, such as arranging podcast interviews, press releases, and other events.

The list below summarizes services on the Influence Network Media.

  • Create a book summary

  • Write a book for them

  • Coach them on writing a book themselves

  • Help navigate podcasts and guest appearances

  • Design marketing materials

  • Provide bestseller strategy

Strategic money management between businesses

If there’s one thing Jodi appreciates, it’s keeping expenses down. She uses several inexpensive or free applications to keep meticulous business records. For example, she uses Wave app for invoicing, which is a free application for small businesses.

To keep her business accounts organized, Jodi keeps a separate account for each business, each at completely different financial institutions. This makes it easy to separate the accounts mentally and prevents her from using her consulting account for her network business and vice versa.

“When I started my consulting business, I started with just a checking account and a business credit card,” notes Jodi. “And then I added accounts for my first business overtime so that I could bucket my money. I now have one savings account that's just for taxes, and I have another one for a rainy day.”

Currently, she budgets about 5% of her income for emergencies but plans to expand it to 10% post-pandemic.

Since Influence Network Media is so new, she only has a single checking account and credit card. But as the business grows, Jodi plans to add more “bucket” accounts to separate items like taxes and expenses.

The biggest tip Jodi has for entrepreneurs? Know your strengths and weaknesses and reserve your cash for services or tools that complement those weaknesses.

For example, Jodi says that she’s not nearly as good at creating advertising and marketing materials as she is at running operations. For that reason, Jodi prefers to spend on marketing and advertising but handles other aspects of the company herself, such as accounting, networking, and other high-level tasks.

This cash flow strategy helps her keep a low overhead and retain more income, without doing everything herself.

Cash flow management should be easy

The key to keeping any business healthy and sustainable in the long term is cash flow. Whether you need to boost your prices, reduce your expenses, hire help, or build that second business, the best way to know when the time is right is to look at your cash flow statements.

For at-a-glance visuals and in-depth numbers, a cash management tool can help keep you on track. Pulse is a cash flow tracking tool for business owners, built by business owners. Take your business to the next level and start tracking your cash flow for the next 30 days, completely free.

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