The other day I was in the car with my 6-year-old, Mason, when we spotted a rainbow.
That led to a discussion of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
You can imagine how his eyes lit up talking about that one. For a 6-year-old, a pot of gold is about as good as it gets.
But that got me thinking ... everyone has a different pot of gold. Maybe your pot of gold is retiring early, or a fancy car, or more time away from work.
For most people who are in business, especially salespeople and entrepreneurs from professional services, there is one “pot of gold.”
They want to increase their client base and their revenue.
But here’s the problem… most businesses can’t handle what they wish for.
And if they double their customer base, it means double the workload while paying less attention to each customer. Not so good, right?
If you’re a typical consultant, coach, writer/speaker, or other professional services business owner who provides a “done-for-you” service like a huge chunk of the businesses that make up the U.S. economy, then getting a flood of new clients all at once would be both a good thing and a very, very bad thing.
It could be a good thing because, yay, money!
But… it would be a bad thing because one of these two scenarios would probably apply to you: a) you would have to do a TON of work to service those clients, which would take a ton of time and you’d be miserable working 24/7, or b) you wouldn’t be able to onboard all the clients and so you’d miss out on a lot of potential revenue.
You might call this “the Oprah problem.” What if Oprah suddenly recommended you to all of her fans? Would you be able to take advantage of that sudden flood of interest and demand for your business?
Or would it all slip through your grasp, like water through a sieve?
If you are trading hours for dollars right now, struggling to get a predictable and consistent flow of clients, then it’s time to get serious about fixing that problem.
Trading hours for dollars is a losing proposition, but there is a fix.
I call it “going one-to-many” and it’s the best way to truly leverage your time in a smarter way.
If you sell “one to one” right now, there’s a simple pivot you can make to diversify your revenue streams, create more predictable and consistent lead flow, and allow you to charge premium rates for the one-on-one work you do.
That “pivot” is to begin creating “one-to-many” programs and offerings.
Here’s where I usually hear a lot of objections. “But I don’t have the time!” or “But how would I know what to create?” or “If I created a group program, wouldn’t it be more work for less money?”
If this idea is new to you, there are 3 simple steps you need to follow to create your first “one to many” leveraged group offering:
1) Create Your Product Ladder
Truly great businesses have a product ladder, which is designed to take customers or clients through a series of increasingly valuable offerings, delivering better results for the customer/client and greater revenues for the business.
Think of Starbucks, which has everything from a $2 cup of coffee to a $5 latte to a $300 Espresso machine. When a customer buys a less expensive offering and gets a good experience, they are much more likely to buy something more expensive later.
But many service professionals, salespeople and entrepreneurs don’t have any product ladder; they only have one “service” but no higher level offerings to present to their most loyal clients who want more.
When you create a product ladder, then your clients get better results and you generate new revenue streams.
Once you’ve mapped out your product ladder, then you need to plan out how you will create the new product offerings so they are going to be successful.
2) When You Create New Revenue Streams, You need to Follow the Modern Revenue Stream Creation Approach
The second step is to be smart about the way you create your new offerings.
There’s a “traditional way” to create new revenue streams, whether new products or new services, and there’s the modern way.
The traditional way is to have a “lightbulb” moment where you come up with a brilliant idea, then immediately move into the fury of creating the thing before you’ve figured out if anyone wants it.
Then after spending months or years creating the thing, if you don’t give up along the way, you unveil the offering, often to disappointing results because it turns out there wasn’t enough demand for your so-called “brilliant” idea.
Here’s what that traditional approach looks like:
For centuries, people have followed this model. And they continue to follow it. But many phenomenal product failures can blame this model.
Here’s a much better, modern approach.
The first step: you validate the idea… before you’ve created anything.
You do this by talking to your target market so you can truly, deeply understand what they want and need, more than they even do.
Second, you pre-sell the idea. It’s not enough to simply talk to people about a new idea. That’s not enough validation, because the true test is really just whether people will buy it.
I recommend you charge a discounted rate, but charge something, because otherwise you will get people who will sign up but won’t give you any constructive feedback.
Third, you create the product, service, or group offering. You can even use the revenues collected to create it.
Then you can magnify sales even further, using an explosion of emerging digital tools which have become available in recent years, from email automation to webinar software and social media.
Here’s what this approach looks like:
Now the rubber meets the road. How do you actually carve out the time and energy to create your first one-to-many offerings? Especially if you are busy with current obligations?
3) Take Small Steps, Put in Consistent Effort and Nurture Group Support.
There’s a great quote from author and speaker Seth Godin, who said,
“While you and I have been running down dead ends and wasting our efforts, scientists have been busy trying to figure out what actually works, and now they know. Small steps works. Consistent effort works. Group support works. That’s it. Three things.”
I love this quote because it is so true.
*Take small steps. Give yourself what I call “micro-commitments.” Rather than saying “I want to write a book this year,” give yourself the task to “Write 25 words describing the first chapter of my book.”
*Consistent Effort. There is amazing power to creating a chain of daily successes. If you give yourself micro-commitments, then you can achieve daily progress and you will create true momentum.
*Group support. There is huge power to being a part of the right group of peers. Your colleagues will hold you accountable and help you through challenges.
If you do not belong to the right group of peers who will hold you accountable, find a community you can join which will help you to keep moving forward towards creating a more leveraged, smarter way of using your time.
Finally… if you are a coach, consultant, writer/author/speaker, financial advisor, lawyer, or a professional services provider who works with clients, and you want to scale up your business and love the work you do by creating your own “one to many” offerings, then join us next Thursday, July 13 at 1:00 pm EST as I present “10 Clients in 30 Days: How to Get More Clients in Less Time.” Click here to register for free!
John Corcoran is a writer, attorney, and a former speechwriter for the Governor of California. Throughout his career, he has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and owns his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs. He is the creator of Smart Business Revolution and the Smart Business Revolution podcast. His writing has appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Art of Manliness, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Get Rich Slowly and numerous other publications, blogs, and websites. He’s also co-founder of Rise25, LLC, a company whose mission is helping professional services business owners to scale up and get away from trading hours for dollars.