How Wedge15 Used The Living Room Strategy to Make an Impact and Make Money Fast, Too

Your goal is simple: take your big idea to market.

But do you ever feel overwhelmed with the idea of putting your ideas, your aesthetics, even a career’s worth of expertise into a product or service offering? For many, it can be paralyzing. Instead of figuring out how to make money fast, you’re stuck on a mental hamster wheel that may or may not pay any kind of dividend down the road.

Couple that with the images of content marketers, startup founders, and idea people crushing it with big launches, fancy websites, and [potentially] crazy price tags; it only makes it worse. You want to do your ideas justice. You want to pay your bills. And, if you’re anything like me, you feel your competitive spirit starting to morph from helpful to harmful.

How to Use the Living Room Strategy to Make Money Fast

The good news is that big ideas don’t start big. They start small. Their creators tap into the essence of the idea—the very reason people need it to begin with—and create the minimum.

Creating the bare minimum is a great way to make money fast in a way that’s sustainable, honest, and strategic.

Businesses you know and love started this way. Think Facebook, Dropbox, Google, DailyWorth, Mailchimp … the list could go on and on. They turned the a simple “make money fast” strategy into big impact and long-term revenue growth.

Yet, time and again, we try to do better and go big right out of the gate.

During my last CreativeLive workshop, I introduced the idea of the Living Room Strategy. In other words, you don’t need to fill a stadium full of customers with your new idea for it to be a success, for it to impact all the right people. You can start by filling a Living Room.

Even better, filling a Living Room first can give you the experience, feedback, and stories you need to fill that stadium when you’re ready. The Living Room Strategy is the process by which you make the first set of invitations to your idea, host your intimate dinner party of an idea, and then gather feedback on how to make it better next time.

After my CreativeLive workshop, Gloria Roheim McRae put the idea to the test. Gloria had a decade-long global career but left her last position in 2010 to launch her entrepreneurial journey in digital strategy. In 2013, she and her husband merged their businesses to become Wedge15 Inc. and enjoyed great success. They’ve served hundreds of clients individually, self-published a best-selling book, and been featured throughout the media.

But they still faced familiar dilemmas when it came to taking their ideas to scale:

  • When do you create the content?
  • How do you ensure it sells?
  • How much time and energy do you need to put into marketing it?
  • How do you push your next big thing to live up to the reputation of your tried and true big thing?

Inspired by what she saw on CreativeLive and with fellow Living Room Strategy user Marie Poulin, Gloria constructed a plan. She says, “we created a landing page, a wait list and mentioned we would launch in October 2014. Our intention was to sell out the BETA program at half price to help us pilot the full priced program with customer feedback and reviews in 2015.” She acted fast and with focus. Gloria and her husband Ricardo honed in on what values would shape the program (“intimate and interactive”) and decided to do things very differently than they’d done them in the past.

Here’s a sample of what they did:

  • Didn’t wait to be done creating the program but instead let the program grow around the participants. Gloria says, “You made it look easy and fun, and it was.”
  • Focused on personalizing the launch to a small wait list instead of generalizing their marketing to their full list.
  • Invited prospects to a free in-person private dinner event to find out what their pains were, in their own words.
  • Tailored the program to exactly meet their pain points where they were instead of trying to push them 10 steps ahead.
  • Wrote their sales copy using customer-centered pain points instead of expert-centered ideas of what’s going wrong and what they need to fix.
  • Highlighted their own expert’s perspective to formulate a clear statement of value (their hypothesis).
  • Delivered great content that gave their wait list a taste of their offer but didn’t try to sell it.
  • Opened applications at the end of their series of content.
  • Reviewed applicants and only those that we thought would be an ideal fit were sent the registration link to pay and secure their spots.
  • Followed-up individually with successful candidates to keep the momentum going and confirm the sale.
  • Maintained the energy of the initial invitation period through a variety of content marketing and posted until the very last minute.

In the end, Wedge15 had a $7200 Beta launch that sold out their Branding School program. They were able to welcome a small group of the perfect customers into their “living room” for an intimate and interactive experience of great material, tailor made for them.

Maybe this example applies directly to you in your business right now. Or maybe you’re considering a new service offering and wondering how you can get the first 5 clients to try it out before you unleash the offer to all of your prospects. Or maybe you’re thinking about a new collection of home goods for your textile business and wondering how you can ensure the first 10 wholesale orders to recoup the initial expense of production.

The same concepts apply. Start small with the very essence of the idea and the core values that influence how you want to deliver it. Know who you want to invite to purchase, who you want to create for. Devise a way for those people to find out about the offer—personal invitations work great—and then create a way for them to RSVP with a yes.

She says that without this approach, “I would have let the process defeat me and delayed launching again until things ‘felt perfect.’” Instead, Gloria’s customers are enjoying the benefit of her knowledge, experience, and brilliant ideas. And now Gloria is primed for a much bigger launch the next time around—if she wants to make it bigger.

Have you been letting the process defeat you? Have you delayed taking your idea to market because of a fear of everything you have to do to “crush it?” Do you fear that making money fast now could hurt your chances of making good money down the road?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Follow Gloria’s example. Or, join me in Kick Start Labs where you can find the official Living Room Strategy training & workbook, plus plenty of other training for maximizing your business with minimal effort.

Kick Start Labs is where creative entrepreneurs go for training, support, and a good kick in the business pants. Click here to learn more.

 

 

5 Ways to Generate Revenue Now Without Having a Sale

There are lots of reasons you might need to generate revenue right now. You’re moving, you’re having a baby, you’re feeling the pinch at tax time, you want to redesign your website, you want to take a trip.

Needing to generate revenue now isn’t something to feel bad about. It happens in successful businesses, it happens in little businesses, it happens in big businesses. It’s just part of being in business!

So let’s make you some money—and soon.

1) Send a sales email about your bestselling product or service.

What’s your #1 seller? There are people on your list who haven’t bought this product or service and likely would, if they knew about it. Even when we think “everyone” has bought our main product, there are people you’re connected to who still don’t know it exists.

Last week, I casually linked to my bestselling product, The Art of Earning, and—without mentioning it by name—quadrupled sales over the week before.

Sometimes the best way to generate new revenue is to focus on old assets. What could you craft a fresh sales cycle for?

2) Beta test a product or program that’s been on your mind.

I know you: you’re sitting on a great idea. You haven’t figured out how to make the time, find the money, or craft the sales process for that new product or program you have in mind.

Pro tip: don’t.

Write down everything you know about the first iteration of this product. Then write down all the reasons your best customers or most engaged audience members need it. Put those things together with a strong pitch and present it to a select few you know will dig it.

You’ll thrill the early adopters in your audience. You’ll offer killer value for a great price. And you’ll be that many steps ahead when you go to do a bigger launch on a more refined version.

3) Raise your prices.

Two ways you can approach this one. If you’re regularly selling something that’s been on the shelf for a while, you can just raise the price to give you a revenue boost.

The other way to tackle this is by giving your customers a heads up on an impending price increase. There’s probably something sitting on your “shelf” that could use a 10-50% bump in price. Craft an email that let’s people know the price is going up and they have until a certain date to get the item/program/service at a lower rate.

4) Repackage what’s already on the shelf.

Often, businesses have several smaller products that can be repackaged as a bundle with more value. In fact, the repackaged product might even have a more compelling value proposition as a package than as individual products.

If you’re a jewelry designer, you might try to package up a necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings. Simple, right? But the result is a greater value than the sum of its parts; it’s now a night-on-the-town kit.

If you’re a health coach, you might try to package a recipe book, coaching program, and one-off session with you. Again, simple. And again, the result is a greater value than the sum of its parts; it’s now the method, the accountability, and the day-to-day information you need to succeed all-in-one.

What do you currently sell that actually makes more sense together?

5) Find a partner to create new value.

The best collaborations often start from very small joint ventures. If there’s someone in your network you’ve been dying to connect and create with, this could be the time to jump on it.

By your powers combined, you could whip up a workshop or small event that will have both of your audiences asking for more. You get the chance to test drive the partnership, your audiences get value that they couldn’t have gotten from either one of you individually, and you generate some revenue to boot.

The trick here is to keep the scope small and the expectations for each party well-defined. That benefits both of you… and your customers.

A word to the wise: it’s easy to fall into a pattern of gotta-make-money-now in business, especially once you realize how easy it can be. However, planning for revenue, proper product & customer development, and sales cycles will always be the real key to feeling secure in your business. For a FREE tool on revenue planning, click here.

Part of truly stepping into entrepreneurship is understanding how easy it is to generate more revenue. If your cash flow is feeling a bit tight, I encourage you to try one of these ideas and get a taste for the entrepreneurial money mindset yourself.

How Much Should a Cup of Coffee Cost? Making Your Customers Comfortable With Price

How much should a cup of coffee cost?

And what does that have to do with how much you should sell your product, app, program, or service for?

The first answer is, it depends. The second answer is, everything.

The price of a cup of coffee is influenced by a lot of factors. And one of the factors that influences it least is the material cost of the beans. Even expensive coffee beans tend to be “cheap” (with a few notable exceptions).

How to make your customers comfortable with the price you charge

The factor that influences it most is perhaps the different markets it’s sold in. You can get coffee almost anywhere, and where you get it influences how much you expect to pay. Grab a 64oz Big Gulp of coffee at a gas station and you might pay 69 cents. Pick up a 24oz coffee at a fast food chain and you might pay 99 cents. Sip on a 16oz coffee from a specialty chain and that’ll set you back a little over $2. Or, sidle up to the brew bar at high-end coffee establishments and that cup of coffee might set you back $5-7 (yes, I’m still talking about brewed coffee, not espresso).

While there is certainly a difference in the cost of the materials, overhead, and labor at these establishments, the price of a cup of coffee is influenced as much by the conversation you share with your barista, the environment of the shop, and the people you expect to meet there. The same dynamic is at play with digital products and most services. While there are hard costs that influence price, most of the price is subjective and based on many factors that have nothing to do with materials or overhead.

The price of coffee is also largely dictated by what the product means to its customers. Gas station coffee is a necessary evil, the solution to the problem of working too many hours, too early in the morning. Fast food coffee is a convenience, a simple pick-me-up in the middle of a hectic day. Specialty chain coffee is a predictable luxury. Brew bar coffee is an experience all its own, a ritual, a little slice of heaven for the connoisseur.

If the local specialty shop started charging 69 cents for a cup of coffee, it would be jarring to your consumer mind. You’d ask, “Why?” and you’d expect an answer about promotion. If they just exclaimed, “Well, that’s what it costs,” you’d start to wonder, question its quality, wonder about the people running the place.

If you price your products or services discordantly from what your customers expect to pay, you’ll leave them wondering the same things. Whether too low or too high, the price of your product is suddenly something that makes people uncomfortable. And uncomfortable people don’t buy.

To make sure you’re putting your customers at ease with both the experience of your product or service and the price you’re asking them to pay for it, consider these questions:

  • What do you want your product or service to mean to your customers?
  • How do you want them to experience your product?
  • What does your customer expect your product to mean to them?
  • How does the set of features you’ve arranged for her add up in her mind?
  • What other products, services, or solutions might he be relating to your product?

Pricing is largely chicken & the egg. And too often, business owners play chicken. You don’t have to price your products like a gas station prices coffee. You can choose to have a more refined aesthetic, offer a more distinct point of view, cultivate a more demanding clientele, create more favorable positioning–and charge more.

It’s your choice.

Don’t believe that these factors are out of your control. If there is any part of your business that you believe is negatively impacting your ability to set the price you want, take control and change it. Adjust your brand or positioning, change marketplaces, rework your network, invest in design.

Create an experience that really means something to your customers and results in a sustainable, profitable price for your product. Make your customers comfortable with both the value your business is creating and the price you ask your customers to pay.

And then have a cup of coffee.

Stop Trying to Charge What You’re Worth

I’ve long been a proponent of charging more, earning more, and feeling good about it. I’ve asked countless entrepreneurs to consider the value of their skills in a New Economy market where those skills are highly prized.

But there’s one thing that nags me about where this conversation inevitably goes.

When service providers, makers, and microbusiness owners of all ilk become empowered to consider pricing on a new level, they say, “I’m going to charge what I’m worth.”

There are two serious problems with this mantra:

1) You are priceless. Your work is not.

There’s really no way to quantify what “you’re worth” because you can’t measure the value of your precious life. However, skills, products, and services are quantifiable. There’s a going rate. And there is also the ability to raise or lower the going rate depending on how you position those skills, products, or services.

2) You’ve forgotten the customer.

There is no value without the customer. How much is doctor worth without patients? How much is a house worth if no one will buy it? How much is a company worth if the investors all bail? What you make or offer has no value until a customer is willing to purchase it.

Dave Gray states it plainly in The Connected Company: “A company can’t create value on its own: value is only created through exchange. The customer must participate in defining and determining that value.”

So how can you address this in practical terms?

Understand the whole market.

There’s no one set price for a cup of coffee. Go to a gas station and pay 69 cents. Go to a fast food joint and pay a buck. Go to Starbucks and pay $2. Go to Blue Bottle in San Francisco and pay $7.

Your market is likely the same. You know you’re not at the bottom of the barrel and you have no interest in being there. But have you explored the rest of the market? Do you know what the top-of-the-line looks like and how much it costs? Once you do, back track and complete your understanding of the whole market.

Determine what influences price.

Price goes well beyond materials, overhead, and labor. It goes well beyond experience and skills. Those are just factors that contribute to understanding a sustainable price from the business’s point-of-view. But many other factors influence price from a customers’ point-of-view.

What the product means to them, what results the service promises, and how your customers perceive your business in relation to the rest of your industry all contribute to what you can (and should) charge. The style of your website, the way your images are merchandised, the testimonials you provide (and the way they’re written), and your sales process give your customers a distinct impression of what your product or service is worth.

Adjust as necessary to make the price you want to charge match what your customers want to pay.

There may be many factors currently influencing the price you can charge that have consequences you don’t like. It might be hard–even unpleasant or expensive–to change them. It might involve better packaging, a shinier website, or more training. But it could also be as “simple” as introducing your work to a new group of customers or changing the way you talk about what you do.

Take full inventory of the factors currently influencing your price, both from your business’s perspective and from your customers’ perspective. Determine which factors you can change to create a better result for your business. Create an action plan to do just that.

And stop telling people you’re going to charge what you’re worth… Click to tweet.

Sell the End Result, Not the Service (or Product, or Program)

People aren’t looking for your service (or your product, or your program). They’re looking for results.

Your customers want to change the way they feel. They want to adjust the way they act. They have goals, they have desires, they have dreams.

All too often, businesses position their offers around the “what” of what they’re offering instead of the “why” people would actually go looking for it in the first place. Further compounding this problem, is that business models are built around “whats” instead of “whys.”

Instead of considering the best ways to achieve the desired end result for you and your customer, many business owners build models that are based on how a particular service or product has always been delivered. There’s a status quo web design model, a status quo life coach model, a status quo jewelry model.

When was the last time status quo got you the results you wanted?

You can build a business model that is focused on results, different from the rest of the marketplace, and more effective for your customers. But to do that, you need to start by making sure your core product or service is positioned function-first.

Here are 3 easy ways to reposition your offers around why your customers are actually looking to buy in the first place.

1) Lead with value, not the name of your product or service.

Your product isn’t the selling point, so why make it your headline?

If your service helps people feel better about their bodies, lead with that. If your product helps make a brand more memorable, put that front & center. If your program, helps people feel more confident about the business decisions they make and, consequently make more money, make that the star.

2) Make good use of “before & after.”

Just because you’re not Extreme Makeover doesn’t mean your product can’t benefit from some before & after swagger.

It might be as simple as listing a feature that implies the “before,” as this Bang Buster headband from Lululemon does. Or it might involve turning your customers’ before into a bullet point list that exudes empathy and an equally empathetic list of bullets that describe the “after” your customers have in mind.

3) Use visuals that allow your customers to see themselves getting the results they want.

Great visual merchandising helps customers see themselves actually owning, using, and loving a product. That’s why you prefer flipping through an Ikea catalog to browsing Amazon. While this might be standard practice for physical products, it’s also extremely useful for services and programs.

Maybe you use beautiful photos of happy mamas. Or images of curvy bodies successfully practicing yoga.

Instead of just focusing on you, let your customers see themselves achieving the results they want.

Side note: Stocksy has become my go-to source of non-stocky stock images.

I mostly pointed to sales page examples in this post (click the links above to see the examples) but positioning must be woven through all parts of your business–from the Most Valued Customer you seek to engage to your brand identity to your regular email communication. Dive deeper into the businesses I highlighted here and you’ll see a results-centered culture at the heart of everything they do.

Remember, your product is important to you but it’s results your customers are after. Click to tweet. Make how life will be different–whether in big ways or small–the focus of how your engage your customers and you’re sure to get bigger, better results for yourself.

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10ThousandFeet - Business CoachingYou’re ready to lead your business instead of follow the jet stream. You’re ready for more confidence, more revenue, and a greater impact in the world. It’s time for 10ThousandFeet.



Work with me over the next 4 months to create a business model that serves you & your customers, a conversation that nourishes your goals, and a plan to leverage your skills, strengths, and passions. Registration is now open.

“The clarity I now have around the business I want to build, not just this year but over the next five, is a bigger, fancier diamond than I even imagined uncovering.”
— Laura Whitman, co-founder, Red Balloon Relations

Playing a Different Kind of Money Game

I get asked to write about money a lot. I’ve written plenty of posts, guest posts, and a whole ebook. And when I sat down (multiple times) to write a new post about money for the Declaration of You blog tour, I was stumped.

I had one of those “What more can I say about this that I haven’t already said?” moments. Then I asked around, talked to Brigitte, and decided to write what’s been on my heart & mind for the last year.

When you’re known as the girl to go to for a money/earning/pricing smack-down, you have a reputation to take care of. And what is that reputation if it’s not about how much you earn? I learned that my money wake-up was just the beginning of an evolution of understanding around money and earning that has led me to build my business differently over the last 12 months.

After I got over my personal hang ups and misconceptions about my earning power, money for me was like a game. What product can I create, what conversion rate can I adjust, what marketing campaign can I invent that will make more, more, more? It wasn’t that I was greedy but that I was having fun.

I’m playing a different game now. I know how I could make a lot more money. I have the business model constructed. I largely have the platform and network in place.

But I choose to do something a little different.

The game I’ve been playing with money lately has only has two rules:

  1. Put as little time into the business as possible so that I can live a rich life outside the office.
  2. Do the work that will allow for the greatest returns in the future with as little hustle as possible.

I’ve concentrated the work that I do into short bursts of energy that have more impact on clients than I’ve ever had before. While I’m making about the same annually, I’m doing so with extraordinarily less effort.

But it’s not just about working less. It’s really about the set-up, the long game.

Just wait til you see what’s coming.

Because financial reward is one [of many] outward symbol of greater impact, choosing to dial back on earnings comes with mixed feelings and plenty of impostor complex questions. Can I be an effective business strategist if I’m not maxing out my earnings? Will I lose potential clients because I choose not to pursue the million-dollar launch strategy? What will happen to my reputation?

The truth is I am an effective strategist–many of my clients are generating much more revenue than I am. The truth is that any clients I lose weren’t the right clients for me. And the truth is that my reputation is stronger than ever–as far as I can tell!

Your net worth is not your self-worth. Your hourly rate isn’t your reputation. Your sales target isn’t your impact.

Right now, I choose to make decisions that bolster my self-worth, shore up my reputation, and maximize my impact–now and into the future. Those decisions result in leaving money on the table. But I believe that the decisions I’m making today will lead to greater return–both in profit & in impact–than trying to scrape up every last penny or find the gold at the end of the rainbow.

I also enjoy mixed metaphors.

There’s a time and a place to play the just-how-much-can-I-earn game. And I hope you play it, and play it hard. But I also hope that you take time to readjust every so often and look to the long game. What are you setting up today that will take care of you–and your customers–in the future?

Are you going after a bigger piece of the pie? Or are you baking a new pie that will make others lives meaningfully better?

Are you going after financial reward at the cost of relationships, peace of mind, or reputation? Or are you creating something that is in alignment with your values and preferred modus operandi?

Today, my declaration of money is that the choice to make less is often a choice about making more later, an investment in future impact.

What are you investing in? What game are you playing?

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The Declaration of You, authored by my brilliant friends Michelle Ward & Jessica Swift, gives readers all the permission they crave to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique, and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.