How to Generate Revenue (Even When You’re In a Slump)

How to Generate Revenue (even if you're in a slump)

Launching a new product isn’t likely to get you out of a slump.

Neither is having a blow-out sale.

There comes a time in every business when you need to generate revenue — fast. And it could be for any number of reasons — something didn’t play out as you had expected, unforeseen expenses, maybe you had to take some time away…

Your bank account starts looking a little lonely and you need to generate revenue quickly, and without resorting to coupons or deep discounts.

I always encourage my clients to look at their business as a money machine: it has different parts that may need to be added, greased up, or fueled, but once you get it working properly, you should be able to turn on the money machine and generate revenue any time you need to.

How do you reconfigure your business to be a money machine?  A few dos and don’ts.

1) DON’T try to launch a new product.

Launching all the time, creating products all the time (even if you’re an idea person like me!), and selling all the time is exhausting. Beyond that, it’s not building a legacy for your business. It doesn’t give your prospects something to remember your business for.

But most importantly, constantly creating new offers doesn’t set you up for making more money in the long run.

Every time you launch a new product or program, you’re only tapping into a very small segment of your potential customer base (the Early Adopters). If you stop there, other customers might trickle in over time but most people won’t even know you have that offer available.

This is a great case study on this very topic by Jeff Goins.

That just puts your business back in the position of needing to generate revenue with another new product. It’s a vicious cycle.

2) DO send a sales email about your best-selling product or service.

Instead of a vicious cycle, your business needs a system for marketing, launching, and selling your best offers over & over again. And when that system also includes products that work together to create more value for your customers and your business than they could alone, it’s a Business Model.

When your business has that kind of system in place, revenue becomes predictable and more consistent. At the very least, you know when it’s coming. Best of all, you’ll find that your offers start to generate more and more revenue each time you enter a sales cycle because your customers are expecting them, planning for them, and eager to buy them.

What’s your No. 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.

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

3) DON’T wait until you have the perfect “next big thing.”

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.

I’m not saying don’t make the thing, I’m saying don’t make the time.  Because more time isn’t going to magically appear in your schedule.

Instead, 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…

4) DO beta test a new product or service with a small group of hand-picked customers.

…present it to a select few you know will dig it.

In Quiet Power Strategy, we call this the Living Room Strategy, and it’s a simple way to test out a new idea on a few of those Early Adopters who will be thrilled to work with you. You’ll generate revenue while doing the work to create the product, instead of waiting for the product to be ready & waiting to get paid.

5) DON’T discount your prices.

It seems to me that whenever entrepreneurs need to generate revenue fast, their first thought is to discount — but really, that’s backward thinking. If you lower your prices, you actually have to sell more to make up the difference.

In addition, discounting, sales, and coupons train your customers not to buy. It tells them that if they just wait long enough, there will be a sale and they can pay less.

6) DO consider raising your prices or adding a bonus.

Instead of discounting, consider if there’s a way you can raise a price or add more value.

There are two ways you can approach raising your prices. 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 lets people know the price is going up and they have until a certain date to get the item/program/service at a lower rate.

If you’re not ready to raise prices, you can run a promotion instead of a sale, and add a bonus to entice people to take action. Promotions are very different than sales, but they almost always motivate people nearly as much.

In almost every case, I encourage you to add value instead of subtracting from your price.

7) DO repackage and reposition.

Many times, businesses have several smaller products that can be repackaged as a bundle with more value. In fact, the repackaged product might be a more compelling offer than the 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 higher 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.

8) DO reach out and find a collaborator.

You can also bundle your products or services with someone else’s to increase value for both of your audiences.

For example, a yoga studio and a massage therapist could come together and create a package deal to help people de-stress.  A handbag designer could pair up with a clothing designer to do trunk shows. A copywriter could pair up with a graphic designer to offer a single price for a finished ebook.

The possibilities are practically endless if you look at what else your customer might need.

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.

The truth is, once you get the pieces in place, your business should be able to generate revenue any time you need it.  Of course, that doesn’t matter much if the prices you charge don’t support your growth. Enter your email address below to get my FREE “Price for Growth” course:

PRICE YOUR OFFERS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

Yes! Please send me the 6-part free course on how I can set prices to tell the right story about my business, get closer to the life I want, and break out of my money rut.

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Inside DesignSponge: Interview with Grace Bonney

Inside DesignSponge: Tara Gentile interviews Grace Bonney

For the latest episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., I sat down with Grace Bonney, founder of the iconic design blog brand DesignSponge.

DesignSponge started in 2004, which means it’s seen the ups, downs, twists, and turns of the lifestyle and design blog industry. Grace has weathered all of these, plus big personal changes, too.

Last year, Grace moved to from Brooklyn to Upstate New York. Brooklyn had been a main character in Grace’s story and a huge influence on her point of view. So I was eager to find out how she had changed her relationship to her company, the site, and the world of blogging.

She said that in the city it was so easy to get caught up in the push to be #1, to land the big deals, and to be on top with page views. Moving upstate has put that all in perspective. The change was noticeable.

While she might not use these exact words, I loved how Grace talked at length about the craft of blogging and the craftsmanship of running a site like DesignSponge—from the way she approaches her team to the way she developed the concept for her forthcoming book.

Grace also shared her thoughts on creatives being paid for their work—something she’s been vocal about for years. Her views are nuanced and evolving and it was a real treat to talk with her about this important topic.

As always, I probed into how DesignSponge generates revenue, how the team is structured, and the role of collaboration in her company. Grace also shared about how her attitude toward “being the boss” has evolved over the last 11 years.

Pay close attention to how Grace balances ambition and the pursuit of what’s important in her personal life. She does it beautifully, and she should be a role model for creative and idea-driven entrepreneurs who don’t want to give up their lives to pursue their dreams.

Click here to listen to my interview with Grace on iTunes.

If you’re loving Profit. Power. Pursuit. be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcast player and leave us a review on iTunes.

Learn more about Grace’s forthcoming book on women in business here.

Photo of Grace by Christoper Sturman

Don’t Be Cheap: Megan Auman on the Investment Mindset

With all the talk about how cheap it is to start a business today, it seems like that old adage “you have to spend money to make money” has gone the way of the fax machine. And, it’s true that you can put up a website and offer your product or service for next to nothing.

Yet, it’s also true that once you get started you realize the copious amount of ways you could be spending money: a designer, a virtual assistant, a trade show, an advertising account, a coach, etc… Even the little subscriptions add up fast.

Tara Gentile interviews Megan Auman on the investment mindset

I know many creative and idea-driven business owners who decry the expenses associated with running their businesses. But it seems successful business owners figure out how to not only become comfortable spending money to make money but become excited at the prospect of investing in themselves.

Running a Business With an Investment Mindset

Megan Auman, designer, educator, and metalsmith, is one of those successful creative business owners. I’ve always been impressed with Megan’s investment mindset and her ability to quickly make decisions about spending money (and even using debt) in order to further the goals of her business.

Megan has never been attracted to doing things the cheap way. She’d rather get results and get them fast by making investments in quality tools, materials, and opportunities.

When you listen to my interview with Megan Auman, take special note of all of the factors that go into making an investment decision. Spending money is fun—but it has to be smart, too.

Click here to listen on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe & leave us a review! Thanks!

Finding Confidence To Make the Big Promise with Sue Bryce

When I talked to Sue Bryce for the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast, I wanted to find out how someone so open, vulnerable, and approachable could also be so confident and self-assured. Sue doesn’t just have presence and poise—she has a conviction about the value of her work that borders on bravado in the best possible way.

Sue has no qualms telling women, “I will take the best photograph of you that you’ve ever seen.

Can you say that about your work? Do you?

Tara Gentile interview Sue Bryce

There are so many creative and idea-driven business owners who love their work, delight in their ideas, but don’t have that conviction. It shows in the way they talk about what they do, market what they offer, approach sales conversations, and price their wares.

Sue says, “People who devalue money devalue themselves.”

And, I think the reverse can be said as well. People who devalue themselves devalue money. If you find yourself constantly cursing the need to sell, if you find yourself regularly decrying the almighty dollar, you might want to reconsider what you think about yourself.

When you find deep-rooted confidence in your work and in yourself, you can come into a much easier relationship with money. Sue does a lot of hard work on herself and her personal growth to facilitate that relationship. And that, I found, seems to be the connection between her openness and vulnerability and her unwavering confidence. It’s a beautiful combination.

Listen to Sue Bryce’s interview on the Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast and subscribe to receive new episodes automatically.

 

What’s Gotten You Here Won’t Get You There: The Tutor House Case Study

It doesn’t matter how much time, energy, blood, sweat, or tears you put into marketing and selling what you’ve already created if it isn’t designed to get you where you want to go.

The beauty of starting a business today is that it can be rough & tumble, fast as lightening, and fly by the seat of your pants. You don’t need to know what you’re doing and you don’t need to plan ahead. But I often see business owners stay stuck in this cycle of unintentional creation.

They keep creating products or programs. They keep creating marketing campaigns. They keep creating content.

But they don’t create a true system for growth.

They end up frustrated–sometimes at the edge of burnout–and tell me, “I’ve realized that what’s gotten me here won’t get me where I want to go.” Yes, exactly.

You can make money, change lives, and create great stuff without a plan. But if you want to take a break, realize a big goal, create a legacy, and level up your earnings in a big way, you need more.

When Adrianne Meldrum, founder of The Tutor House, came to Quiet Power Strategy, she was ready to make some changes and try things she hadn’t done before in the name of creating an intentional, cohesive strategic plan. Here’s her story:

Adrianne Meldrum, Quiet Power Strategy alumna

Adrianne Meldrum, The Tutor House

324 hours lost.  Hours I couldn’t get back no matter how much I wanted to.  These hours were not lost watching television or browsing social media.  They were not on account of making mistakes and fixing them.  The hours were the victim of worry. Worry was starting to take the joy out of running a small business for me.  At night when my entire home was quiet, I was awake worrying if I had made some serious mistakes in my business.  It had to be something serious because I did a lot of things right in my business.  

I had  opt-ins, products, a podcast, a new app, and a tribe of dedicated followers.  I often would feel hopeful that the launch of my newest idea would be the ticket that would finally set me on the path to profit.  It just had to be some huge mistake that I was overlooking.  It had to be!  The question that always ended this barrage of thoughts was, “Why was I spending so much time working without much in profit?  Is this really worth it?

Just when I was ready to throw in the towel with my business so I could claim my life (and my sleep) back, I got an email from Tara inviting me to her free webinar about doing business your way.  This caught my eye.   I attended the webinar and then devoured her eBook.  So much of what Tara was saying made sense to me.  The way I was doing business is what other people were advising and in fact may not work at all for my own business.  For the first time, I felt the weight of what Tara was saying.  My unique talents were the key to my business success and she could show me how to harness them.

During my time in the Quiet Power Strategy program, I felt empowered after each lesson.  I understood myself better as a person and why my tribe is attracted to what I have to offer.  Tara taught us about personal archetypes, or how the world perceives you.  When I saw my results, I couldn’t believe how well they fit me.  I found a lot of value in understanding how to use this knowledge to make decisions in my business.  It made writing sales copy easier and also allowed me to embrace some of my limitations so that I would look to add other team members that had different strengths than mine in the future.  

Quiet Power Strategy taught me to start with the end in mind when creating a product first.  This was a game changer for me!  My flagship product resonates with my audience because I was able to make the benefits clear.  Before I would slave away at the new product and then write my sales page when I was exhausted and just ready to be done.  By swapping those actions, I was able to use some of those key phrases that connect my audience and I, directly into my product bringing it full circle.  

Quiet Power Strategy has also completely changed my mindset.  Tara taught us about valuing ourselves and our unique craft whatever it may be.  During one of our group phone calls, she was able to help me bust through some assumptions I had about my audience and make a plan to succeed.  I’ll be honest, there were tears when I realized that the pricing I chose was one of those big mistakes that I didn’t see and lost sleep over.  Pricing based on value affects so many pieces of your business.  Now I have the confidence to take my business and navigate it back onto the right path.

Tara and her team taught me how to re-work what was already working in my business for maximum impact right away.  After completing Quiet Power Strategy, I have earned ⅔ of what I originally invested within three weeks of finishing and I am on track to earn the rest back within a month.  This was some of the best money I’ve ever invested in myself.  

I sleep really, really well these days because I know how to confidently move my business forward with tools like the Business Model Review, the Quiet Power Inventory, the Customer Perspective Process, and the Chief Initiative.  With the help of QPS, I’ve had my first ever successful launch!

To echo other QPS-ers, “This process is freaking changing my life!”  I am excited to work through the lessons again and uncover new insights.  Thanks Tara and Team!

***

One of the biggest realizations Adrianne made was that she was actually underselling her products. By not connecting them to outcomes that her customers already knew they wanted, she was convinced they wouldn’t pay more than $10 or $20. We tied real, urgent results to what she was already selling, put it into a complete package, and raised the price by a factor of 10.

Now she’s selling more than she’s ever sold before.

If you’d like to learn more about Adrianne and her Tutor Business Framework program, click here.

This session of Quiet Power Strategy is half sold out. Join us for the Fall Session (we start September 28) and create your personalized strategic plan with our hands-on support. Click here to learn more.

Price is About So Much More Than Cost

Think about the last thing you “splurged” on: Why did you buy it? How did it make you feel? What story did it tell you? What story did it tell about you? What part of your values or personality did it confirm?

When it comes to the things we care about, we rarely make decisions based on price. Price might be a factor but it isn’t the make or break detail we worry it is as designers, idea people, and business owners.

If you create things that you want people to care about, you have to use price as an opportunity to tell a story not just pay your costs or your salary.

Price is about so much more than cost.

Price isn’t just what ends up on the tag. Price isn’t the only thing that determines whether something is affordable or too expensive. Price isn’t even the determining factor in whether someone decides to buy something or not. 

Getting the price right for your products and services is important. But if you’re basing your prices solely on how much it costs you to create, how big or small it is, how complex or simple it is, how much you’d like it to be affordable, or what assumptions you’ve made about how much people are willing to spend, you’re missing the pricing boat. I’m often asked for rules of thumb when it comes to pricing. 

Beyond a few calculations, an imperative to price for profit, and gentle urging to analyze the market, I don’t have any. There is no magic formula for getting to the right price for your new product or service. There is, however, an awful lot of strategic work you can do to determine whether your pricing strategy is going to succeed or fail. 

You need to know who you want to have buying your product and what they expect to pay for something like it. You need to know what problem you’re solving and how the resolution of that problem can be quantified. You need to know who your customers aspire to be and what community they want to fit in with. You need to know how you want your business to be positioned and how it is already perceived. 

And beyond knowing all of that, you need to choose. Most pricing struggles come down to trying to be too many things to too many different kinds of people (kind of a universal life problem, isn’t it?).

Of course, if your whole business is a little wishy-washy, you’re going to have problems pricing. Use price as a way to make a statement about the strategic direction of your business and then follow-through with every other aspect of your business. You’ll feel more confident about what you charge—and so will your customers.

[ FREE COURSE ] Break out of your money rut and create the life and business you crave!Look, I know pricing feels like…

Posted by Tara Gentile on Sunday, April 3, 2016