Is your revenue model killing you?

When Elise Grice ended up in the hospital with the West Nile virus, she and her partner Scott were three years into growing their successful branding studio Hey Sweet Pea in Austin, TX.

That’s when the couple and biz partners finally admitted that despite their growth and success, their dollars-for-hours revenue model was killing them physically and emotionally.

The silver lining in this case is that Elise and Scott were committed to finding a better way to run their business (get more of their story here).

In the coaching and consulting world, there’s no shortage of advice coming at you when it comes to getting clients and running your business. There’s oodles of information out there about packaging and pricing your offers, creating 6- and 7-figure businesses . . . and very little advice on how to do that without running yourself into the ground.

Because if you’re simply adding clients, adding to your workload, adding to your stress levels . . . how is that adding to your life? On the flip side, if you’re aware of protecting your “me time”, “family time” or “fun time”, growing your business can feel like you’re trying to summit Everest without an oxygen mask.

More or Leveraged?

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I’ve taken on a couple high-end clients who are getting the white glove service from me. They are great clients who I’m excited about. They’ve also made me keenly aware that because of the current state of my business and life (which are positive), I can only take on a limited number of “white glove” clients at any given time.

And when I learned about Elise and Scott’s story, a jolt of panic struck me.

What happens if I can’t personally deliver service to my clients?

Gulp.

I know several solo consultants, coaches and even small business owners who are facing down this same devil. Even when you have a team, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business is structured to run without you.

9 Revenue Models for Service-Based Business Owners

One thing I know for sure is that there is no “magic bullet” revenue model, just like there is no “magic bullet” marketing strategy (stop buying that BS). The model you choose depends on you, your values and your specific goals. That being said, if you’re a service-based business owner stuck in the dollars-for-hours hamster wheel here are nine revenue models to consider integrating into your core business.

  1. Licensing – you don’t have to be an inventor or software developer to license your intellectual property. Service providers often follow a process to deliver services. When you’ve designed that process, you want to protect it (so speak with an attorney who know IP law). Once you can prevent others from using your process without your consent, you can commercialize your IP so others can use the process for a fee. World-class branding expert Sally Hogshead and creator of the Fascination Personality Test combines this approach with several below. How can you leverage your process and intellectual property so others can use it to grow their business?
  2. Aggregator – Collect information on service providers in your industry and pull them under one brand. For example, if you’re a holistic health provider, aggregate a network of wellness practitioners. You have the option to charge providers a monthly fee to join the network, consumers a monthly fee to access the network or both.
  3. Subscription/retainer – How can you shift your clients into longer-term work? You can go more high-end and enroll clients into a Done For You style contract or mastermind for a year or more. If you have a team, have one of your star players facilitate or deliver the service. Or, you can make it low-cost, hands-off where clients access content or use a tool for a monthly fee (think Netflix for your business). Either way, what resources do you already have in your business that can provide you with recurring revenue even if you’re away from your business?
  4. Online Courses – Can your audience learn some aspect of your service for themselves? Turn it into an online course, like Elise and Scott. Create an automated marketing and sales funnel. It takes work and effort upfront to get all the moving pieces together but it’ll be well worth it when you see orders coming in even when you’re at the golf course, on the slopes or at the beach. You can even get others to help you sell your course if you’re willing to share a part of the revenue (see #9).
  5. Assessments – People love to assess things. If there’s some aspect about your business that requires your clients to assess their personality or their business, create a tool that allows them to do that. That’s what Sally Hogshead has done with her Fascination Personality Test. She offers a free version that gives a basic assessment and a paid version that goes deeper. The free version makes a great lead magnet so even if someone doesn’t take advantage of the upsell to the paid version the first time around, she can offer it again (and again). She makes money on this assessment by charging a nominal fee for a user to get the deeper assessment. She also makes money on it by licensing it to partners. Brilliant!
  6. Property – If you rent or own office space, do you need it all or can you use it in different ways? I know a business owner who has a gorgeous salon and photography studio. She rents it out to a national clothing retailer for fashion events. She also gets hired to photograph the events, do executive head shots, etc. She’s figured out how to leverage her many assets to inject some extra cash into her pipeline. She’s still pretty involved, but if you have property you can rent or time-share, it’s another way to make money without having to be present. What about personal property? One of my clients has a vacation property that she rents throughout the year. I own a condo that requires minimal management from me and provides monthly income. Your business doesn’t need to be the only way you make money.
  7. Employees – If you have a team, how can you loan them to other businesses? You could hire them out to run workshops, trainings or skills development that you already offer. It’s packaging something that already benefits your clients and delivering it in a different way.
  8. Books – You’re probably not going to get rich by writing a book, but it’s a great way to get your ideas and message to the masses, elevate your brand, promote your business, establish your expertise and yes, make some money. If you don’t have the time to sit down and write, hire a ghostwriter. Loral Langemeier told me she doesn’t write her books (she doesn’t have time). She dictates them then gives the recordings to someone else to pull it together and shepherd it through the publishing and distribution process. In today’s marketplace you don’t need to be a multimillionaire to model Langemeier’s approach.
  9. Affiliate/JV Partnerships – If you enjoy collaborating, get someone to help you market your services and share the revenue. Creating affiliate and joint venture partnerships is a leveraged way to get your intellectual property (book, courses, assessments, tools, etc.) to a wider market without you having to be there. Sally Hogshead licenses her Fascination Personality Test to a select group of service providers who align with her brand (these licensees are able to apply their brand to her product and keep a greater portion of the sales revenue, minus the licensing fee). She also allows affiliates to sell the test and earn a commission every time someone buys, without requiring them to pay the licensing fee. Who do you have in your network who would be willing to promote your services and IP to their community?

I know many consultants and coaches who love to work privately or in intimate settings with their clients (myself included). I’m not saying you need to abandon your core revenue model, but when you restructure or leverage some of the assets you already have, you can have more time to enjoy what matters most to you, or give yourself some cushion if (god forbid) something goes wrong.

If you’re ready to increase your client base, add leveraged income and simplify your business, apply for a complimentary consultation so we can explore what makes sense for you.

What other revenue models are you using to create leveraged income in your business? Let us know in the comments below. 

 

Successful Women Are Unlikable? Really?!

WARNING: Cuss words inside

It’s high time we put the “bitch in the boardroom” stereotype to bed.

According to many high-profile voices (Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Sheryl Sandberg & Hillary Clinton to name a few), if you’re a successful woman, people don’t like you.

But if you’re a man, well, it’s game on.

Look, I’m not stupid. Not only do I know women have been oppressed, mistreated, held down and treated less than, I’ve experienced it.

We’ve got a long journey before us to heal the wounds and horror stories of generations past.

Here’s the thing.

I am really flipping tired of powerful people – who are supposedly on the side of women – beating us down with this tripe.

It’s reckless, irresponsible and not useful at all to advancing women.

While this may not have been true 40 years ago, I believe that today it IS possible to be a woman with a commanding presence, confidence and humanity that both sexes respect.

Hang with me here as I break down this message . . .

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Has the fear of people not liking you held you back from succeeding? Sure has for me – more than I care to admit.

Read that sentence again. Out loud.

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Now . . .

Are you ready to do whatever it takes to be successful?

Or do you feel like you want to “chuck it in the fuck it bucket” (to borrow a favorite phrase from my client Sherry).

Well hell, if a high-powered woman is telling you success means no friends, no fun, no respect  . . . then why bother right?

Say it again.

The more successful and ambitious a woman is, the less likable you become.

Is it 100% true? Or can you identify times when success, ambition and likability came together for you like peanut butter and jelly?

Hmmm. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is that the belief is WRONG, not your ambition. Not your success. And if there’s no one in your life who respects you for being an achiever, may I suggest that it’s time to find new people?

I’m not buying into the idea that success and likeability are mutually exclusive — especially when it comes to powerful women. You can achieve both when you get shit done, get results, add value and treat others with respect. You deserve it because you earn it, not because of your body parts, name or status.

Leaders – women and men – need to up their message game.

Speak the truth, yes. Shine a light on injustice, yes.

Massively overhaul our discourse and mindset? Yes! Yes! For goodness sake YES!

In a recent interview with Lewis Howes, Tony Robbins said (about 55 minutes in) . . .

We’ve all experienced injustice. If you hang onto injustice, you’re there. What we need to do is breakthrough and you will always breakthrough when you add value.

How about we start demanding that our leaders add value with their messages too?

And until that happens, consider this . . .

Limits live in your beliefs & behaviors. Hear the words of powerful people, then listen to your own voice to decide what’s true for you. [Tweet This]

Also, if you’re a powerful, successful woman (or you aspire to be) just remember this: the media loves telling you what to think and do. If you have vision and drive, if you can listen and communicate well . . . if people can TRUST you, you’ll have little trouble finding people who like you no matter how meteoric your rise to the top.

I’m grateful to meet and know many successful and likable women and men like you. Do you have a powerful, uplifting message that adds value to others . . . if only you could share it with more people? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me & learn how you can package & position your message for greater impact, influence & income.

 

Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 2)

clock-1031503As promised in my last post, here’s my guidance and an action plan to help you make 2017 your best year yet. It all starts with focusing on the next 90 days and applying these six steps so you can implement and get results quickly.

Let’s do this!

Decide what you want

I know this sounds simple but it’s also a step I know I tend to overlook. It’s a lot harder to work toward something if you’re not sure what it is. No need to overthink it or make a lengthy list either. In fact, what my clients find helpful is thinking about the big goal then breaking it down into 90 day achievements. A couple of years ago, Wendy Sabin (hi Wendy) helped me understand the brilliance of this in my own business. We got together in early spring and after mulling the question over I realized what I really wanted was to find a way to generate more than enough money in the summer to pay for a few weeks of summer camp for my kids and enjoy vacation time with my family. We made a simple plan and it happened. Having immediate and concrete goal gets you in gear.

Who do you serve BEST?

Earlier in this series I talked about identifying the problems you love to solve and for whom. The other piece of this is figuring out what slice of your market gets the BEST results from working with you. What characteristics need to be in place in order for this to happen?

How do you serve the BEST?

I know you’re smart, multi-faceted and multi-skilled. This is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can do many things well. A curse because it’s easy to morph into someone who does a lot of things, some of which you really would rather not do. So if you realize that you have a bit of a sandwich board structure going on with your business and it’s dragging you down, it might be time to reassess. I recently heard a brilliant way of figuring out how to reframe this question.

What are you so confident you can do for your clients that you’d be willing to do and not get paid UNTIL after they got results?

Focus on THAT, and watch your business double, triple or more.

Pick NO MORE than two marketing activities

Here’s a mistake I’ve made (and I should know better) and I’ve seen other consultants and coaches make. There’s 100 or more ways to market your business and it’s easy to get caught in the self-defeating cycle of trying too many tactics at once. But not every tactic makes sense for yourbusiness. You need to think about your business model, your assets and the marketing that you actually like to do. The idea is to find one or two marketing activities and go deep. Focus on these tactics and ONLY these tactics for the next 90 days.

Track your progress

OK, I have to admit. Tracking and metrics is NOT always easy or fun . . . but think about it. When you’ve actually tracked your progress on anything – whether it’s revenue or physical training or nutrition – you accomplish your goals right? That’s because data helps you make better decisions. Information allows you to prevent massive drift. When you see yourself starting to stray off course, you catch it early and you can get back on track well before you’re a mile out to sea.

Analyze, streamline, repeat

Once you have the data on what worked well, then you can focus on making those things work better for even better results. Yes, you can always try new tactics, but figure out the foundation first before trying to learn and layer new things onto it. Don’t overthink this. Do you like to talk? Do you like to write? Do you like technology? Do you like making connections and forging relationships? Mold your marketing foundation around what comes naturally to you. For example, if you like to talk, speaking needs to be part of your marketing foundation. And speaking can encompass more than being on stage. Interviews, networking, webinars, videos . . . what kind of speaking do you want to focus on?

So here’s your super simple planning template for 2017.

Write down . . .

  • The ONE thing you want to achieve most in the next 90 days
  • The 2-3 objectives/goals you need to hit in order to accomplish it (Hint, use the second & third bullets to help you define this)
  • The 1-2 marketing activities you do well & get your results
  • The specific action steps you need to keep moving forward

If you need help mapping out your own custom plan so you can implement & get results like a MOFO in the next 90 days, schedule a free Simplify Your Business Session now.

 

Resist “The Drift” on Your Coaching or Consulting Business (Part 1)

raftingIf you haven’t already, it’s a good time to think about how you can simplify, leverage and work smarter as we cruise into another new year.

I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, a story . . .

Years ago, I went on a white water rafting trip with some buddies up in The Forks of Maine (yep, that’s me in the back under the arrow). The first day we paddled our arms off through class IV rapids on the Kennebec River. There’s something so thrilling about eight people sitting on the edges of a rubber raft paddling in unison as big water tosses you around like a cork. It takes great focus on doing the ONE thing that’s going to get you down the river without falling out or flipping the raft. As long as you paddle at the right time and stop paddling at the right time, you’ll avoid going for a violent swim.

On day 2 of our trip we went rafting on the Dead River. Even though the water on the Dead River seemed tamer than the Kennebec, we made a paddling error that pinned the side of our raft against a huge boulder in the middle of the river. The water pushed the ends of the raft around the boulder as we all tried to scramble to the top of the rock but one by one we all tumbled into the water.

I’ll never forget the rapids pushing me down and smashing me into the rocky riverbed. I couldn’t believe how fast I was moving compared to how slowly our raft seemed to be going downstream just moments ago. I popped out of the water just in time to see that I had missed my chance to get into another raft. Other rafts were within my sight but they felt miles away as I rapidly drifted downstream.

Then I heard a man screaming “SWIM. SWIM. SWIM.”

And I finally realized I was just floating along. No wonder I was at the mercy of the shockingly swift current.

I swam like a mad woman until I felt someone hoisting me out of the water and into a raft. I was stunned and exhausted.

I was also alive. Damn that was close.

Many entrepreneurs experience this with their business. They get pushed down and around by external forces and find themselves far away from where they thought they’d be.

At best, it’s disappointing and exhausting. At worst, it’s a terrifying fight for your life . . . or at the very least a fight for your livelihood.

Michael Hyatt, virtual mentor & author of Platform, calls it “the drift.”

This time of year you may be picking up your head only to realize you’ve drifted away from where you intended to be at the start of the year.

If you feel that you’ve drifted off course, stay tuned. In the next email I’m going to give you guidance and an action plan to help you get back on track now so that you can go avoid swirling around in an eddy in 2017.

If you’d like to minimize your drift and take control of your business like the boss you already are, take advantage of my free Simplify Your Business Session.  

How Savvy Coaches & Consultants Find Clients

notebook-womanEver notice how we entrepreneurs talk in code about our real problems?

For example, the most common question I get from other business owners is “how do I find clients?”

If you’ve ever asked that question then you know there’s more lurking between the lines than the words coming out of your mouth.

So let’s unpack . . .

How do I find clients?

What I’ve found from my own experience and from working with my private clients is that this question is often code for one or more of these scenarios:

  • “I need to get my first clients”
  • “I need more clients”
  • “I need better clients”

No matter which of these is true for you, here’s what to do . . .

Instead of bogging down your brain with how do I find clients, get it working on a question that will lighten the brain overload.

What problem do I love to solve and who do I want to help solve this problem?

What you do may solve hundreds of problems but when you focus on the problems you love to solve (e.g., I love to help my clients talk about their business clearly, confidently & compellingly), it’s a lot easier to offer something of value to another person.

So if you teach people how to meditate, for example, maybe what you especially love about meditation is when you help a person who is stressed out, overworked & distracted become focused & productive.

Which brings us to the second half of the question in italics  . . . who is that person?

Because if you can’t answer this, you’re marketing to EVERYONE which gets you NO ONE. Ok, maybe you get SOMEONE but it takes a lot more time and effort because you have to sort through EVERYONE.

Know what I mean?

At the very least, you want to narrow it down to a group of people you’d like to help.

Why?

Because once you know what group of people (aka your audience) you want to work with, it’s a lot easier for you to find out WHERE they are and get your smart, problem-solving self in front of them. (Not to mention you can also tailor your marketing messages specifically to them.)

So, let’s say you love to help professional women improve their focus and productivity through meditation.

Get in front of them at:

  • Business & networking events
  • Social networking groups on LinkedIn & Facebook
  • Your own event that you host specifically for them

For most people, “networking” is about as much fun as a root canal BECAUSE they put so much freakin’ pressure on themselves.

Relax, breathe & do what you would normally do in a SOCIAL situation.

That’s it!

There’s a time and place for your elevator pitch, and REAL conversation isn’t always it. Hey, here’s some rebellious advice (not really), if the idea of passing out your business card to as many people as possible or barfing your elevator pitch all over them like a robot doesn’t work for you, DON’T DO IT!

(Yes, I can hear that sigh of relief from here.)

Just focus on having a conversation that leads to another conversation that will lead to working with that person OR another conversation with them down the line. When someone asks you “what do you do?”, my friend Cami Baker has the best advice . . . Get them to talk about themselves first!

Here’s what that might look like for our imaginary meditation teacher.

When you say “Oh, I’d love to share with you what I do, but how about you go first?” they give youinformation. Information is your secret weapon, so listen carefully to their response.

Maybe she says “I’m a paralegal in a busy law firm working on high profile civil suits.”

Then you can say “Oh, that’s really interesting. I help busy professional women like you improve their focus and productivity. Is it difficult for you to stay focused and productive in that kind of environment?”

She says, “Oh you have no idea. I get interrupted and pulled in a million directions all day every day.”

Then you say, “Have you ever tried meditation?”

She says, “Huh, meditation? No, I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom, never mind meditate.”

You say, “I bet. Many of my clients feel the same way. And once they see how little time it actually takes and how quickly it improves their focus, productivity and mood, they can’t live without it. In fact, one of my clients finally got the big promotion she’d been trying to land for months after I lead her through my meditation program.”

She says, “Really? How can do that?”

You say, “It depends on your situation and the best way for me to assess that is for you to have one of my complimentary Finally Focused Sessions. Would you like to set that up?”

“YES! What do you have available next week?”

Simple right?

And if you already know this, you might be thinking no news here but if you’re in the “need more/better clients” camp it’s time to revisit those questions again.  Because as you work with more people, you get clearer about who you REALLY want to work with and who you REALLY don’t want to work with. But even when you’ve made an upgrade in your mind, that doesn’t mean your messaging, branding and marketing automatically upgrades too.

So whether you’re a marketing newbie or a marketing master, you want to regularly ask the questions

What problem do I love to solve?

Who do I want to help solve this problem?

(Leave a comment below if you have the answers to these questions!)

Then go get them, because I don’t care if you build something that’s straight out of Field of Dreams . . . they won’t come if they don’t know who you are and what you can do for them.

If you’d like to know how you can solve your favorite problems for more of your favorite people (and get paid handsomely for it), take advantage of my free Simplify Your Marketing Session.  

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