This is Part 2 of the Ultimate Guide to Increasing Your Income. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet you can do that here.
In any entrepreneurial business, it’s wise (and profitable) to have multiple streams of revenue. Markets change, audiences change, and you need to be prepared if you want your business to thrive over the long term.
If you’re running a service-based business, this is even more important. Not only is there a limit on how much you and your team can achieve each week, but doing all the work yourself is inefficient. You should not be a slave to your business.
In Part 1 of this Guide, I talked about how to create time and income freedom. To really achieve those, you need to adopt the “little hinges swing big doors” mantra. So here in Part 2, I’m going to give you the 3 little hinges that will swing some big revenue doors open for you.
The 3 Little Hinges
Each of these strategies can generate multiple six-figure or seven-figure revenue streams for your business. You can just have one of each, or you can have several of each – it depends entirely on how much money you want your business to make.
Each of these strategies can also free up your time and mental bandwidth.
If you’re focusing on these Little Hinges, you’ll be much better able to prioritize your time and energy, because you’ll know where the big money is coming from.
1. Your Core Service
Every B2B business has a core service. It might be buried under lots of extra services, but there’s one in there that brings in more clients and more money than everything else.
It’s very common for service businesses to feel pressured into offering more options for clients to choose from, but it rarely actually serves them.
Work out what your core service is and focus relentlessly on that.
You then need to pair this core service up with your Optimal Selling Strategy. This is the one best way to acquire new customers. It’s the strategy that works every time for you to sell the right product, to the right people, on the right channel.
Once you’ve got your core service and Optimal Selling Strategy nailed down, you’ll be able to start building real momentum.
If you haven’t worked that out yet, though, you’re not alone. When one of my clients first came to me, he was offering web development, SEO, content creation and social media services. He saw his business as a general online marketing agency with a core offer of ‘digital services’ – anything and everything an online business could possibly need.
But he and his team were drowning.
Not only was the team stretched way too thin to do any one thing really well, but the revenue was barely covering costs. Doing all those services, and doing them custom for each client, had cost of goods sold hovering around 70%. It was a perfect illustration of what a service business should not be.
When they finally stopped to look at what their core offer really was, they found that SEO paid the most, had the second-lowest cost, and could be effectively systematized. Also, those clients stayed the longest creating a high lifetime value (LTV). Web development and content creation were costing a lot, while social media took up a lot of time every week.
SEO was their core service — they just hadn’t realized it because they were trying to be all things to all prospects.
Once they stripped away the other services, systemized their SEO practices, their cost of goods sold plummeted. Suddenly each team member could focus their time and energy to do an excellent job… which meant they could hone their Optimal Selling Strategy, so more and more SEO work came flooding in.
Breaking Free Of Time For Money
Defining your core service is critical to building up momentum in your business, but many people end up trapped by how they approach delivery. You do not have to be the one that does all the work actually delivering your core service – if you’re doing all the work, you just have a stressful job.
Once you know what the core service is and how to best sell it, hire people to do the work for you. This allows you to focus on the sales – rapidly increasing the amount of revenue coming into the business – without worrying about the fulfilment.
Once that system is running, you can start working on the next two hinges, which all B2B entrepreneurs should be adding to their services. These two tools really accelerate the process of disconnecting your income from the time you spend working.
Once you know what your business really excels at, take that expertise into group settings. This is where the time for money equation really starts to fragment. In group settings, you can make $10,000 in a single hour, because multiple people are paying you to be there.
Again, you don’t have to be the one that does the labor for the group here. You can employ someone to do the teaching or implementation, so that you can remain focused on finding high-leverage opportunities for your business.
There are several ways you can bring your company’s services into groups:
Most services businesses should have a membership program. For example, you can create membership sites with a knowledge base, private forum or resource library. People will pay to access your expertise, especially when they can interact with other like-minded people while they do it.
Ryan Levesque, who runs Funnel Specialists, a sales funnel consultancy, has a membership site that he runs inside a private Facebook group. There are over 1300 people paying $97 a month to be in that group.
That’s over $1.5 million in annual revenue… from a Facebook group.
And while I don’t recommend using Facebook for membership groups (since you don’t own the platform and can’t control the medium), it’s a powerful place to get started.
I consult for a lot of B2B entrepreneurs, but some of them aren’t ready for one-on-one work with me. To work around this, I created additional outlets for them to gain the necessary knowledge and mindset to grow their companies.
One was a community for consultancies and agencies called ConsultingFuse. It had short training programs, interviews with other B2B entrepreneurs, and community interaction where members and I would answer other members’ questions. When I ran it, the community was making $6000 a month, with total expenses of under $2000, including my time working on training, interviews and answering questions.
Several of the members of this community joined my group coaching program called Ignite Mastermind, which we’ll cover more in a moment. A few of the members also ended up hiring me to consult on their businesses – membership sites are a great entry into your business’ ecosystem of products and services.
Masterminds are a great way to leverage groups in your business.
Bring all your clients together for events, whether in-person or live online. Help them to learn from each other and build each other’s businesses… while making a tidy fee from each event. You can do monthly or quarterly events, and create themes or focuses to keep members engaged and eager to come back for every event.
Peter Shankman, founder of HARO and serial entrepreneur, does this with his one-day ShankMinds masterminds. He picks a city, promotes the mastermind to his clients and prospects in that area, and then creates a highly valuable experience for all his attendees. He brings in other powerhouse entrepreneurs to facilitate strategic, high-level discussions… and gets paid good money to do it.
Peter has the mastermind game down to a fine art.
You see, his one-off masterminds then funnel attendees into his private membership group. This group has a live weekly coaching event, while offering them additional resources and a consistent community of people to connect with. It’s a valuable offer, so people are willing to pay for access.
In my own business, I wanted to stop turning away B2B entrepreneurs who weren’t ready for one-on-one executive coaching with me. As I mentioned earlier, I created the Ignite Mastermind in order to give these entrepreneurs direct access to me and other high-end business advisors in a small group setting.
While they weren’t in a position to pay my $50,000 annual fee, these entrepreneurs could pay a lower monthly investment and share in my coaching service. They also got the bonus of having multiple brilliant minds giving them guidance on their business. It works out well for me too, since Ignite Mastermind generates more revenue per hour than my core service.
Some clients won’t be able to afford your usual fees… but that doesn’t mean they can’t pay anything. If you have an engaged audience segment like this, don’t just ignore them because they don’t have enough money for your normal offer. It’s a prime opportunity to add a revenue stream to your business, without adding to your workload.
You see, when you offer group packages, you can charge a lower price to multiple clients. It takes the same amount of your time and resources, but your total compensation can be significantly higher than it would be if you were to spend the same amount of time on your normal projects.
I experienced this firsthand in 2006, when I launched my pool business.
At the time, Joe Polish was running his Platinum coaching group for restoration and carpet cleaners. I signed up, since I figured the principles would still apply, even though I wasn’t providing exactly the same services as everyone else.
Joe Polish had up to 150 members in the Platinum program (which he ran for 16 years). Each member paid $15,000 per year (though some were grandfathered in at $10,000) and came to Arizona for a day and a half each quarter. In that time, they got in-depth, focused consulting with Joe and learned precisely how to move their business forward.
The value they got from those quarterly events helped them grow highly profitable businesses, and Joe made millions working with people who couldn’t afford his $25,000 per day consulting fee: the Platinum group had the potential to generate $2,250,000 a year for the equivalent of 6 days of work per year. Joe would have to do 90 full days of consulting per year at his normal rate to generate the same amount.
Companies need highly-educated, skilled team members. If a client has a big project coming up internally, you can go in and teach the team how to run it. You can charge big one-off fees for a single day, week or month of training.
Again, you don’t have to be the one actually teaching the training.
You can hire someone who’s a natural teacher or presenter to do that for you. This has the double function of keeping your time free, while making a really strong impression on the client. If the presenter is engaging and makes the training fun (or at least, not boring), they’ll call your company the next time they need help.
Shawn Davis, a member of the Ignite Mastermind, runs Legendary Consulting Group, and adds significant amounts of revenue to his business through his training programs. He runs these training programs on top of the CIO advisory work he provides to higher-education clients.
“I do both webinars and live training events for higher education clients.
1. Webinars are currently only available through my membership service. This currently brings in $25,000 per month, and includes two webinars per month plus one or two group coaching sessions.
2. In-person training events are ad hoc. I have a number of sessions on offer, sometimes paid, sometimes free. I’ve also partnered with ITSM Academy to provide “official” training for the IT industry. I do the coordination and collect the fees, and they provide the materials and instructor. Although the margin is lower, this saves me from getting and maintaining certifications, which I feel is worth it (for me, at least). Revenue from ad hoc training is currently $1700 per day. Revenue from official training is usually in the tens of thousands.”
Group services can be highly profitable for B2B companies.
B2B services are, at their core, a transfer of knowledge, skill and experience. Group programs help transfer your expertise to multiple people at once, improving your position in the market and adding a significant revenue stream to your business.
And while group services can generate income from small numbers of people, knowledge products allow you to share your expertise and build authority by educating hundreds and even thousands of people at a time. Knowledge products, also known as info products, are the third and final Little Hinge that can really accelerate the growth of your business.
3. Knowledge Products
Every service business needs knowledge products, because every service business sells intellectual property (IP). It’s a massive waste not to package up that IP and use it as a client-acquisition tool.
You can package up your intellectual property as a book, a video course, a training manual, audio recordings… however your audience will best consume it. The information doesn’t even have to be innovative or exciting, as long as it’s valuable.
Digital Marketer has done an exceptional job of packaging up their IP.
Instead of just creating content, though, they’ve created courses. They have multiple courses that teach people various digital marketing skills – from paid traffic, to SEO, to email marketing – and then certify them.
While this started as a B2C initiative, the courses have allowed Digital Marketer to successfully expand into B2B territory. They’ve been able to start acquiring a high volume of commercial clients by licensing the courses to teams of multiple marketers.
This is a prime example of putting a knowledge product to work in your business. They only have to create each course once… but can sell them thousands of times over. There’s no limit on how many people or companies can buy the courses, so the revenue from these knowledge products is only limited by how aggressively Digital Marketer promotes them.
Another example comes from a client of mine, who wrote a book in order to get more clients. After testing multiple marketing campaigns, he’s adding about $200,000 in annual revenue every month from selling his book to potential clients.
He gets people to claim the book for free, mails it to them, then puts them through a sales funnel and adds them as a client.
That’s annual growth of $2.4 million… all from his book. It’s incredibly powerful.
Not only are knowledge products powerful marketing tools, but they’re evergreen. You create the product once, and sell it forever (unlike services, which you have to sell over and over again).
Yes, it takes time and energy to create a really great product, but it’s worth it to add millions of dollars in revenue to your business.
Finally, knowledge products are excellent for your authority. They signal to your industry and clients that you are an expert and that your knowledge is worth paying for. They also set you apart from your competitors, because most people won’t go to the effort to make a great product.
These 3 Little Hinges are unbeatable for building the authority you need to bring in lots of high-level clients.
Now, we’ve talked a lot here in Part 2 about how to make a lot of money… but there’s a caveat here. You need to keep your priorities straight:
Making lots of money is the end result of serving the needs of your market.
Learn to serve and respect your customers, keeping a laser focus on providing them with exceptional service that solves real problems for them. If you just view your customers as walking paychecks, they’ll quickly get sick of you and go elsewhere – so always remember to serve the market to the best of your ability. If you can do that, the money will flow in naturally.
Now: any one of those Hinges can add another six-figure or even seven-figure revenue stream to your business. But to make that happen, you need to develop real authority in your industry. In Part 3, we’ll delve into exactly how you create that authority, and how to develop the expertise you need to keep them around for a long time.
You can read the third part to the Ultimate Guide To Making More Money With Fewer Clients here.