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?


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. 


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.


What Bruce Jenner and Don Crowther can teach you (& me) about growing a breakthrough business in 2013

Business building, strategic business and marketing planning, business breakthrough

Photo by ChrisDownUK

Forget Gen X. I belong to the Wheaties generation. My first athletic hero (at the tender age of four) was Bruce Jenner.

So strong, so fast, so enduring. I think staring at that Wheaties box on my Nana’s kitchen table planted a lot of seeds about success in my pretty little head back then.

But how the heck is Bruce Jenner – the 1976 Olympian, not the Kardashian step-dad – going to help you grow your business in 2013?

It’s all about having a simple kick-ass strategic plan for your business and following through.

Be honest. How are you feeling about your business as you kick off the new year? Are you optimistic, excited and ready for your best business performance yet?

Or are you stifling that sickeningly stuck feeling that’s been dogging you and your business?

I can relate. I’ve been feeling stuck for a few months now. Unsure of where I want to go and not quite sure how to move ahead with my own business. I finally got sick of spinning my wheels and decided to get myself and my business in high gear. I read. I took classes. I even got a business coach.

They all pointed to the same answer:

If you want to build a breakthrough business in 2013 make a simple strategic plan for your work, then work your plan [Click to Tweet].

One of my favorite quotes from Bruce is:

“To me, the definition of focus is knowing exactly where you want to be today, next week, next month, next year, then never deviating from your plan. Once you can see, touch and feel your objective, all you have to do is pull back and put all your strength behind it, and you’ll hit your target every time.”

The best part is that you don’t have to agonize over creating a strategic plan to hit all your business targets this year. All you need is a few hours and this 2-page strategic plan template from Don Crowther to help you get seriously clear and motivated about your business, or your life. Even Don’s kids use this template to set their own personal goals for the year.

I have a confession to make. This 2-page strategic plan template has been sitting idle on my desktop for three years. This is the year I will use it. Will you? If you like it, let me know by leaving a comment below or on my Facebook page. I’ll let you know how it goes for me too.

I’ll be sharing with my subscribers two more secret tools for business success later this month. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up using the form to the right and you’ll get these tools, email updates and my free report “7 Profitable Ways to Turn Your Story Into Gold.”


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