Yesterday I was in the presence of a visionary. We began talking about one subject and found ourselves 2+ hours later in an altogether different place – with many stops along on the way. I enjoyed our conversation immensely. It’s what makes my line of work so interesting in fact – following a person’s train of thought and then distilling their ideas into a tangible product, brand or service.
That’s the key though – the distillation process. Where visionaries sometimes find frustration is in their attempts to create a website or a branding statement is when they attempt to include all of their ideas in one place. Sometimes this does work if it’s branded under a particular personality or larger entity. But what often ends up happening is that most people don’t follow, give up and move along. And that’s a shame – because there is so much to be learned by working with someone with an extraordinary vision.
If you are a person with many ideas and you don’t want to pick just one – here are a couple of quick insights to share with you:
- I was reminded yesterday by Ms. Toni that all of your ideas don’t have to be thrust upon someone during a conversation all at once. If people follow and remain intrigued then by all means go forward with the conversation. If not, back off until they have reached common ground once again. I loved her insight (and her home-grown tea)!
- This second issue comes up over and over with my clients – don’t let a single website be the place to dump every idea you’ve ever had without a clear delineation of your brand concept. Because even the best of us with the capacity to follow along a winding trail of thought will wonder what the heck you’re talking about. Instead consider your audience and then add another URL or sales page to detail and elaborate on your next idea. In this way you can capture the specific audience you want and then ask them to take the next step with you.
That’s it for now…
Hey there. I’m back just jotting down my answer to a question posed to me today from one of my clients that I thought may interest you. She wanted to know what my top four suggestions were for adding residual income streams based on my own personal business building experience. Great question.
Here they are in no particular order:
1. Create an application that will provide a solution for the core problems your own customers are facing. Think automation, sharing/collaboration, or data mining.
2. Create and sell your own branded information products including e-books, white papers, how-to guides, etc.
3. In this same vein, create a self-guided online course for your clients.
4. Add a much needed/requested service that you don’t currently provide for your clients. Outsource it to a trusted and competent provider and keep a percentage of the income.
I have personally seen each one of these ideas grow business profits exponentially.
Recurring revenue allows you to secure a client once and bill them for value-added services over a specified amount of time. It’s an ideal model for creating reliable and sustainable income while you focus on securing new customers. Plus, when your company has profit centers that generate income in a number of different ways, the risk that your revenue is negatively affected by an economic downturn or market change is significantly reduced.
The idea of creating recurring revenue streams is not new at all. As an example, think about your last mobile phone purchase. Most likely you signed on for about 2 years of service in exchange for paying a lower price for your phone. That’s just one example of how to incorporate a recurring revenue stream into your business model.
So while recurring revenue is not new, what is particularly exciting today is the ability to use technology to automate and deliver a number of recurring revenue programs in a digital format using your website, QR codes, smart phone, mobile apps, in-app purchases, or through an eLearning platform. Technology gives even the tiniest of companies an opportunity to automatically deliver quality services and make money while you sleep.
Today’s most nimble businesses are re-thinking how they make their money and how they structure and automate their company’s profit centers using technology to control things like:
° Automating everything from your Lead Generation and Sales to Content and Product Fulfillment
° Service, Maintenance and Customer Support
° Booking & Direct Payment
° Subscriptions to Members Only Website
° Product Training and Certification
The sooner you get started building recurring revenue streams, the better. Build them once and capitalize on repeat sales which grow exponentially over time.
Now go out there and get paid for your knowledge and your content!
My father is joining the ranks of retirees starting online business ventures and he’s in his 70’s. When you think about it, being a micropreneur is a perfect way to share his many years of business knowledge without having to leave the comfort of his home office – if he so chooses. And it’s a perfect way to create additional revenue to supplement his retirement.
At his age, though he has seen and done a great deal and if you’re in the same boat – it may be hard for you to pin down a particular area on which to focus your new company. I believe it is a waste of time to write out an entire business plan if you’re still not sure about your business concept – instead try what I call the Affinity Marketing Proof of Concept Phase.
This Phase occurs before you write a business plan. You start with an idea and the goal is simply to test your market and prove or disprove and refine your marketing message and concept.
To launch a business you need to determine if you can make any money at it. Otherwise it’s simply a hobby or pastime. If you want to see if your business has merit with a Proof of Concept Phase, you’ll need a:
- Fuzzy idea of what you want to offer (product or service)
- 1 or more Facebook pages
- Twitter account
- Custom Logo files which can be used on all the social media platforms
- Identity – enough about your concept to fill out the basic information on Facebook and Twitter
- Placeholder URL is optional – but I like to have it just in case the idea takes hold. If you don’t end up using this particular URL – you can redirect it to the site you develop later or resell it.
You then simply set up your accounts and begin talking about your concept about 2 – 3 times per week and do a bit of announcing and cross posting on all your social media platforms. Watch to see the audience that shows up to hear what you have to say. Tweak your content every once in a while to see what people respond to. (Hint: People hate the oversell, so make the Identity all about them – NOT YOU)
At first things will likely be slow to take off – with Facebook, there is a tipping point at around 200 people or so. If your idea resonates, this is when the page “Likes” will take on a life of their own – even if you’re not posting new content very often. At this point, you’re simply collecting names and analyzing the common threads amongst who shows up.
I recommend spending a bit more time on Facebook than on Twitter because Facebook “Likes” have more long-term value. Just follow these ideas for engaging your audience and if you find your page taking off – and reaching in the 3, 4 or (*gasp*) 5 digit Number of “Likes” – begin working on your business plan and main site. You may just have something there worth pursuing.
Keep in mind, you can launch multiple Proof of Concept Facebook pages to test your market, but the key is to listen to what people begin to talk about around your particular concept and to capture the characteristics about your perfect customer. Not everyone who presses “Like” will be a perfect customer to you.
This is one of the fastest ways to:
- determine if you have a market at all
- mine that market for their needs; and then
- fulfill the needs of that market.
Technology and the ease of social media make the Proof of Concept Phase one of the fastest ways to the money, and one of the smartest ways to find the details you need when you write out your full blown business, sales, PR and marketing plan.
At the end of the Proof of Concept Phase you’ll know what the market pain points are, what skills you need to have (or hire) to help your target market and the price they’d be willing to pay. And depending on your skill set, YOU can do all of this with less than $100.
I’m reminded today about what it takes to create your own empire, where your income is not dependent on market changes or pay days and can be centered around what you love to do. My brother Dale has been an entrepreneur since leaving Morehouse in the 80’s. During a conversation years ago, when I casually asked when his next payday was, he uttered three words that have remained with me to this day… “Everyday is Payday“.
Mind you, at that time I lived for my Friday direct deposit, so his words were hugely inspiring – opening up many new possibilities for me. I mean, why shouldn’t your income be ongoing? This might still be a novel idea for some of us – as it was for me. I’m guessing that niche marketers, entre or micropreneurs won’t be surprised by this at all unless your income is centered around one sales type. But I had been brainwashed into a 9-5 mentality – where my life plan was largely dictated by my JOB. As I navigated the ranks of corporate America over the years, I came to realize that I needed a new way of making income – one that would sustain my lifestyle and allow me to retire comfortably (which for me means working on the beach doing something I love).
I embarked on my Everyday is Payday Project, the project elements included:
- Highly active cash flow (high sales, low returns)
- Multiple niche markets within areas you are passionate about
- Automated online electronic delivery and offline service delivery components
- Knowledge based product & service revenue streams
- Company infrastructure can be duplicated easily
- Provides work/life balance and the ability to work anywhere in the world
- Something under my control – the more I put in, the more I receive
During the development of this empire-building plan, I explored many MLM programs – those selling technology, products, etc. I loved the energy and the positive messaging about achievement that often go hand-in-hand with these programs. But I realized that whether it’s a mind-numbing 9-5 or high-energy affinity/network marketing company you are still creating wealth for the top tier of the organization. And most importantly, you also end up promoting products and services you don’t really care much about. For me this is not a winning combination.