Is it possible to make lots of money... in an authentic way? That’s what a client asked, and I thought it was a wonderful question.
My short answer is: Yes, if we pay attention along the way to our motivations.
The numbers can be simple: Create a well-loved online course that’s $100 per sale. Make 1,000 sales per month, and you’ll be making $1.2 million per year.
(1,000 sales per month is definitely doable if you have a course that’s in demand, and you have a small team of people helping with customer service requests.)
In this post, let's explore how to make money authentically. I’ll use a series of dichotomies to think this through. I look forward to your questions and comments.
Focus on Value for Customers vs. Our Own Profit.
Authentic money-making is about prioritizing the value that customers are gaining from our product/service, versus being fixated on our own income and profits.
This is why I don’t like business trainings that focus on “Make More Profits!”
We’ve all experienced businesses that seem to be very good at marketing to us and taking the money from us, but have shoddy customer service. Sometimes they’re highly responsive when trying to sell to us, but after we’ve purchased (especially after the guarantee period is over) it’s harder to get them to help us.
We may buy a product that sounded so good, but the product or program doesn’t give us the results that the marketing hype promised.
These are examples of focusing on revenue and profit, versus the value to the customers.
How do we become customer-focused? We ask for feedback along the way.
This is something my clients have noticed a lot from me: After every session, my follow-up email includes a request for feedback. Did they enjoy the session? Anything I can do a little differently next time to make it even more helpful for them?
After every course session that I teach, I ask participants for feedback right away.
In my year-long group program, I am requesting feedback several times through the year. Plus, I check-in with each program member individually at least every other month to see how they are doing and making use of the program.
Most of the business trainings I’ve purchased aren’t at all obsessed about feedback and improvement. Only during the marketing process do they seem to be caring and responsive, but much less after the sale is done.
They are probably focused on their own bottom line, rather than on the people they’re taking the money from.
Pull vs. Push
To make lots of money means to make lots of sales of a product or service. To make lots of sales, it would need to be a product that keeps growing due to authentic market demand.
When a product is in demand, there is pull. Marketing becomes easier and more authentic. On the other hand, marketers can use aggressive and deceptive techniques to push a product and make it successful, but disappoint a lot of people along the way and sell their soul.
In a lot of marketing trainings I’ve taken, the focus has been on speaking to the customer’s pain. To make them feel their pain again more intensely and clearly, so that we can generate their desire for our solution.
Scaling up (to make a lot of money) by any means necessary doesn’t care what the experience is for the audience, as long as demand (and leads) are generated for one’s services/products.
Instead, what we can do is pay more attention to our audience and market: what are they seeking that isn’t being fulfilled? Even if they are finding products/services they want, maybe those offerings aren’t being delivered with the kind of good customer service that we are willing to offer.
Whenever there is any dissatisfaction in our market, it is an authentic growth opportunity for us. That is where good money can be made, if we can adequately satisfy (even exceed the expectations) for our customers.
Scale Your Caring
As you scale your marketing and operations, if you focus on money it is easy to care less and less for people.
We’ve all experienced businesses that grow from mom-and-pop to being more corporatized, and less human.
What will be your priority, other than making money, as you grow your business? Will the heart in your business grow in scale too? Will you continue to make each customer feel cared for, as you did when you only had a few clients?
If you have been authentically growing an audience of true fans, this may be the best place to recruit quality team members that are deeply aligned with your mission and values.
Now vs. Future
Last but not least, let’s talk about where our time focus is. If we’re dreaming of making a million dollars a year and fixated on that, we are always focused on the future, rather than the now.
Right now, you have people in front of you to serve. Right now, you can practice being joyfully productive. Right now, you can express your soul and highest values in your actions today.
If we spend our days dreaming about the big pile of money we’ll be making, we sacrifice our presence now.
We start seeing customers as a means to an end (our money) rather than being present to their needs now.
We start seeing marketing as a chore, a necessary evil, to get to the good (our wealth) rather than being present to marketing as an opportunity to serve people now and to explore and express our soul.
This is why I’m often cautioning you against associating with business coaches that are money-focused, hyping you up about how much money you can make, so that you can help people, live in freedom, etc.
You don’t have to wait. You can help people now. You can live in freedom now -- because most of being free is a spiritual and mental state anyway.
The heart is accessed here, now. The future is created in your mind. The more you’re in the now, the more authentic you are.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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