If you'd like to experience more freedom and creativity in your life, keep your business model simple.
What I share in this post is a generous and simple business model -- so simple that some people wouldn't call it a "business model"... perhaps a "simple livelihood model" is a better phrase.
This encompasses my 8 years of experience with a variety of monetization models, including...
I've seen too many wisdom-based entrepreneurs / infopreneurs unnecessarily complicate their businesses by attempting to scale up, or to create a "passive income stream" too quickly.
From more than a decade of pursuing different ways to "make money while I sleep", I can tell you that 99% of money-making-opportunities are either scams, or making bigger promises than they can keep.
Wishful thinking -- and buying programs/formulas from the "6-figure / 7-figure" marketers -- has wasted a great deal of money and time, and caused a lot of "failure", disappointment and self-blame.
Here is the simple, generous, livelihood model that I now recommend...
There are 3 parts to this model:
1. One-to-One services (such as coaching, counseling, consulting)
2. Group Experiences (such as offering an online workshop)
3. Free Content (such as my videos & blog posts)
For example, let's say that we are aiming to earn you $5,000/month using this simple business model.
Once you're earning a living wage (whatever that means for you, more or less than $5K), you can then evolve your business model for more complexity, or passive revenue.
Until then, first ensure a livable income from your business.
One of the many benefits of this simple model is that it allows you to iterate quickly, therefore learn more quickly than most entrepreneurs. Instead of spending months (or years) developing a product, you can serve people right away and learn from your interactions with them.
PART 1. One-to-One Services.
Imagine simply having 20 clients paying you $250/month.
That would equal to $5,000/month.
Let's say you charge $125/hour for coaching, counseling, or consulting.
Meeting with each client 2x a month, 1-hour each time, is a reasonable and common model.
You would therefore be seeing each client 2 hours monthly, for $250/month.
Alternatively, you could see each client 4x a month (approx. weekly) for 30 minutes each meeting, for the same rate. Again, we're keeping it simple.
With this simple model, you'll be earning $5,000/month, and spending just 10 hours a week with clients.
Let's say you're happy to work 20 hours a week (which is far less than most people working to earn $5,000/month!)... considering that you have 10 hours a week with clients, that would then give you an additional 10 hours a week to follow up with clients, to connect with prospective clients, to create and share content, and do admin stuff in your business.
Could you get 20 clients to pay you $250/month for your services?
Chances are, you *already* know 20 people now. Look for them in...
... your phone book
... your warm contacts in your email address book
... the people you know on Facebook
... your LinkedIn network
... anywhere else you engage with people online (e.g. various online groups)
... anywhere you engage with people offline (e.g. church, classes, events, volunteering, groups)
Some people you know could directly be great clients for you.
Or, you probably know 20 friends, family, or colleagues who could each introduce you to 2-3 others that might become clients for you.
If your rate was $150 this simple model would bring you $6,000/month.
Or if you need $10,000/month, charge $250/hour which is a reasonable rate for a top-notch coach, counselor, or consultant.
If instead you need to earn just $3,000/month, or you are just beginning, you could use this model with a rate of just $75.
PART 2: Group Experiences
Imagine that each week, you teach/facilitate one 2-hour online workshop, using Zoom Video Conference, for just 50 participants each time, and you charge an affordable $25 per person.
The fact that it's only 2 hour workshop is important.
Instead of designing a multi-month group coaching program or online course that might not have enough participants because you chose the wrong topic, this 2-hour workshop format allows you to evolve much more quickly by trying different topics.
As word of mouth & popularity spreads about your workshops, you can increase your workshop fee. For now let's keep it simple to $25.
$25 x 50 registrations = $1,250 per workshop.
$1,250 x 4 workshops a month = $5,000/month.
Let's say you're willing to work 20 hours a week. You would be spending 2 hours a week teaching the workshop. That leaves you with another 18 hours each week to...
Again, you'd be earning $5,000/month for working 20 hours a week. You'd be making a difference in people's lives, and doing something you enjoy!
(If your workshop fee was $50, you'd need just 25 registrations per workshop to earn the same amount.)
Now that you know the 1-1 model and the Group model, you can mix & match, e.g.
10 clients at $250/month + 2 workshops a month earning $1,250 per workshop
PART 3: Free Content
This is really the "generous" part of this livelihood model. But not only is it generosity, you are developing yourself and your business too.
Creating & sharing free content has so many benefits, including:
1. Giving you lots of practice to develop & deepen your message, and get better at delivering it, whether you are making videos or writing articles.
2. Attracts ideal clients to you, and makes it easier and easier, over time, to fill your 1-1 practice, or to get workshop registrations.
3. Legacy. The wonderful thing about sharing your free content on free platforms such as Facebook or Medium.com is that even after you pass on from this life, you'll be blessing people forever with the wisdom that you shared.
I really think of my content as a "cause" -- I feel urgent to share my best wisdom & experience with the world, while I have the gift of life today.
The key is to discover your ideal rhythm for creating & sharing content... otherwise you probably won't do it. I call it consistent casual action and as you know, I post on my Facebook Page 3 new videos a week (Mon, Weds, Fri) along with writing a summary of each video.
My friend Natalie Kent has a different rhythm that works well for her & her audience -- she shares 1 excellent theme-based video each month.
The key is to stay with the rhythm.
(Not that I'm always perfect -- sometimes I skip, but most weeks I do 3 new videos.)
Be as generous as you can, balancing quantity and quality.
Here's my best free guidance on creating & sharing content.
By following this livelihood model, your reputation will keep growing over time -- through your content, as well as your increasingly-excellent 1-1 services and/or workshops.
You'll have an easier and easier time getting clients and students.
The simpler your business/livelihood model, the more time and energy you will have...
If you like this simple business model, get started now.
As always, I welcome your comments, examples, and questions.
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George Kao is a Marketing Coach for Counselors, Coaches, Speakers, and Authors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.