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Can you handle the responsibility?
Wouldn’t it be nice to rake in a six-figure income… every day… with just half-an-hour of work… over breakfast?
The good news is there are a gazillion business courses out there telling us how to do it!
I watched a hypnotic marketing webinar the other day with the presenter purring “six-figure income” through every sentence to keep us drooling over a life that was just a click away. Sometimes she threw in “multi-six-figure income.”
The presentation was delivered with professional flair and filmed in a gorgeous aspirational home with no laundry, dog toys or biscuit crumbs in sight. She drew everyone into her world with that ubiquitous mug-of-something-hot providing a friendly coffee-chat vibe.
She led us through her arduous journey from struggling stricken waif to the moment the skies parted on a sudden realisation that made everything fall in place. “Follow my method and your business will be generating six figures a month too!” she said.
I sat firmly on my wallet to stop my credit card screaming out the numbers.
It sounds straight out of a late-night TV advert, but it’s a tried and tested routine used in sales copy to tap into dreams and desires.
The seller uses emotive language to detail a struggle the audience can identify with and then leads the way into a magical one-size-fits-all solution and obligatory happy-ever-after.
It’s a standard marketing model used to sell everything from cereal to cars and there’s a perfect storm allowing this model to also work for 6-figure income course providers with blurry backgrounds.
- Online-learning is one of the richest joys of the internet and self-paced tuition is in demand
- It’s easy to create an expert entrepreneur image on social media
- Everyone’s flocking to online business independence and then floundering when their social media posts don’t bring in the customers
There are some very good business courses around and I don’t think any of them promise you a 6-figure income at the end. There are too many variables to make a promise like that.
The problem is the “entrepreneurs” who’ve learned to take basic business skills and package them into something that looks like a Richard-Branson-Mastermind from the outside.
On the inside, the course has enough in it for someone to see signs of improvement — maybe their website becomes more polished and they start an email list — but then after the initial breath of fresh air, things start to stagnate because foundational skills weren’t addressed.
Marketing Makes Everyone an Entrepreneur
Without marketing, people wouldn’t know something exists.
With marketing, people can push their way into your hopes and desires, using emotive language that clears the path to your dreams.
Whether or not your dream materialises is not their problem. It’s economics. They’re entrepreneurs and they’ve got a 6-figure income to make. They’ll tell you what you want to hear and they’ll give you just enough to make you think it’s your fault if it doesn’t work out.
Put their knowledge in a book and it’s worth £8.99. But proclaim themselves a guru, call it a course, throw in a nice distracting facebook group, and suddenly the knowledge is worth any amount they want to charge. 85% discount optional.
So what if they leave you dreaming of a Bezos lifestyle from your part-time ripped-stocking recycling business? That’s just firing up your entrepreneurial ambitions, right?
Full disclosure: I don’t earn six figures from working just sixteen hours a week, more’s the pity. But I have co-built online and brick-and-mortar companies generating 7-figures.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
1) You must know what your product is
It’s so easy to start an online business that you can set up as a freelancing whatever in just a weekend. Then you see everyone else making money doing your thing a different way and that 6-figure income dream comes scratching in your brain. So you change direction even though you haven’t given yourself a chance to settle into your business.
Once you get into the frame of mind where you’re always looking out, it gets really hard to rein yourself in and trust your own vision. Remember to keep foundational questions in mind:
- Are you attracting the people you want to serve?
- Is your marketing giving a clear message?
- Have you got systems in place to monitor what works?
- Have you got something people want to buy?
At the beginning of your business, limit your exposure to other people in your field to protect yourself from taking on their practices and beliefs until you’ve found your feet.
You need to know who your competition is, but you do things your way. There are no short-cuts to that 6-figure income, and it’s something you might not even want to pursue at this point in your life.
2) You REALLY must know what your product is
Whether you’re selling life-coaching or t-shirts, you’re NOT selling life-coaching and t-shirts.
You’re selling freedom, peace of mind, security, belonging, acceptance.
But will your audience respond if you present it like wishy-washy wokery?
- What keywords do people use to find you?
- Does your website answer their needs?
- Are your sales channels set up to encourage a purchase?
- Have you positioned your product in the best light?
People want to buy what’s-in-it-for-them so you’ve got to understand your product deeply to see what other people see in it.
3) Budget for outsourcing and coaching
You can’t do everything by yourself and you don’t build a lasting business by treating it as a hobby.
Writing and web design are examples of activities people do themselves, forgetting these have long tentacles into sales conversion, branding, and marketing strategy.
If you’re not a website designer or a writer or a graphic designer or an accountant or a lawyer, have money set aside to pay someone else to do a better job than you could.
If it’s your first business, a coach will be invaluable to your success. You need the right coach though and it can get confusing because they have so many names — business coach, marketing coach, writing coach, executive coach…
Recommendations are the best way, but in the absence of that, choose one that speaks to you in terms of their style, experience, and background. Take advantage of free initial consultations or simply pay for a first session to see how you gel.
You need to be a good fit for each other.
Online businesses are so easy to start that you forget normal rules of business still apply and you need to set aside funds for things you can’t do yourself. There’s an opportunity cost to everything.
4) Build a team around you
Even if you’re a solo business, you need people to bounce ideas off and to ask for recommendations and referrals.
Over time, you build a circle of trust that keeps you strong.
I don’t play much on social media but even in my own limited way, I enjoy social media for the like-minded non-salesy professionals who are fun and refreshing to talk to.
You need a team that builds you up and inspires you to learn and feel energised — if voices are riddling you with doubt and insecurity, they’re not for you.
5) Don’t avoid things you don’t like
Sales, SEO, and marketing strategy. My clients all seem to hate these things! But that’s only because they’re into the meat of their business and sales, SEO, and marketing strategy are the veg.
You need them so don’t push them around your plate hoping they’ll go away. Outsource or learn. Vegetables help you grow.
Learning is a huge part of business. And courses are a big part of learning.
Sometimes you don’t have time for the kind of in-depth training you get from personal tuition and only a self-paced course will do.
I get that. There are some amazing teachers out there and I’ve had so much value from many of the courses I’ve brought. But I’ve also been bitten by poor content in the past, even from internet-famous people throwing everything at the wall to splat anyone with a dream and a wallet.
Still, my credit card is grumpy it missed out on the 6-figure income course. That webinar was good.
See, that’s the power of good copy. It teaches you people will pay whatever you want to charge once you tap into their hopes and dreams.
So whatever you’re selling, the moral obligation to not be scammy is all on you. Are you up to the responsibility?