If you’ve considered building a product—whether it’s a book, a course, an application, or a program—you’ve likely run into a fair amount of doubt and a number of questions early in the process.
“What if no one wants to buy this?”
“How can I convince people it’s valuable?”
“What if people don’t get it?”
All this after you likely struggled to find your big idea in the first place. And if you’re like many people reading this blog, you still don’t know what that idea is—and you’re pre-worrying about the questions above.
The good news (and there’s lots of good news in this post) is that the answers to these questions are all related. Once you figure out one important thing, the rest should follow.
It all starts with asking a different question.
And that question is…
What do people want to buy?
The problem with sales isn’t that people don’t want to buy. We all love buying.
So if you ask yourself what people want to buy first, you negate the need to sell. You just create what people want to buy.
Of course, that sounds scary. What if you don’t want to make what people want to buy?
Here again, you need to look at it differently.
People don’t want to buy products. They want to buy outcomes.
Or as David Ogilvy once said, “People don’t buy drills. They buy holes.”
You can build anything you want, as long as it gets people to the outcome that they want to buy.
Do they want to learn a new skill? You can teach that skill in the manner you choose to get them there.
Do they want to change a bad habit or behavioral pattern? You can help them through that shift in the best way you know how.
Do they never want to be frustrated by that friend of theirs again? You can guide them to respond differently however you see fit.
Do they want to reach a big goal? You can create a unique path to get them there based on what you’re really passionate about.
Do they want to change how they see themselves in the mirror? You can build the product that makes that happen.
Build your product to sell and you’ll never feel like you’re selling again. All you need to do is tell the truth, speak openly and honestly about what your product is designed to help your customers accomplish, and they’ll do the rest.
Your customers don’t have to fully understand your product to buy it. They don’t have to be taught why they thing you’ve created is valuable. The only thing they need to understand is that your product was designed to help them get what they want, become the person they want to become, or change something they’ve been meaning to change.
When you build a product to sell, you can count on customer excitement to help you spread the word. You can count on your sales copy all but writing itself. You can count on your advertising to stick. You can count on each sales conversation you have being productive.
Building to sell isn’t a jail sentence; it is, in fact, the way you set your business free.
What creates a business breakthrough? Is it getting mentioned in a national magazine? (Not a chance.) Is it staying on top of every social media platform? (No way.) Is it building a giant course and getting all your friends to blog about it? (Highly unlikely.)
Often, a breakthrough occurs not because you’ve willed it so through blood, sweat, or tears but because something clicks into place.
Quite often, that thing clicking into place is positioning.
It’s the adjustment of your message, your brand, and your way of connecting with people that helps them understand how you can help them and helps them feel comfortable and confident in working with you. This small (or sometimes not so small) tweak is at the heart of what I do with Quiet Power Strategy clients.
But really, how big a difference can precise positioning make? The right positioning can inspire you to innovate on the service you’ve always offered. It can lead to a new product. It can turn around a failed launch or give you the perfect messaging for the podcast you’ve been wanting to start.
That’s what Kathryn Brown’s case study is all about.
When Kathryn came to us, she had a functional side business supporting clients 1:1 with project management and productivity help. She was successful but she didn’t see how she could grow what she had into a business that would replace her excellent day job.
Something needed to change. Was it a new product? A different marketing tactic? A new set of clientele? She just didn’t know. Here’s what happened:
Kathryn Brown, founder of Creating Your Plan
Before joining Quiet Power Strategy, I was working 50+ hours in my day job while building my coaching business nights and weekends. Clients were coming in, but I didn’t feel like I had a handle on the bigger picture—including how I could transition from 1:1 client work to something more sustainable long term. I was worried that it was going to take another whole year before I could even consider reducing my hours in my day job.
Fast forward about halfway into Quiet Power Strategy, I knew without a doubt that I would be able to transition from full time to part time in my day job. Making this decision was one of the most freeing moments in my business-building to date. I had spent about 9 months trying to make the “right decision,” but it wasn’t until I went through Quiet Power Strategy that I knew it was do-able. The result of this decision was two-fold — I gained 2 full days a week (not including weekends) to build my business, and I confidently let go of 40% of my day job salary knowing I could absolutely bring in more than enough income to cover the difference.
I was able to hone in on my messaging about what makes my business different than others who offer systems and productivity coaching. My tag line, “Productivity is a CREATIVE practice” came out of this process, and that slight shift in messaging opened up the opportunity to create and beta test a “done with you” systems design and implementation service, my most expensive service to date, raise my price of my small group program, create a few smaller offers around work life balance, and offer an “add-on” service for clients as they transition from more intensive 1:1 coaching.
Often the difference between where you’re at now and where you want to be isn’t some big sexy change, idea, or formula, it’s something small–quiet, even–and unassuming. I’ve seen this happen in my own business where a small change in positioning (and the subsequent changes it led to) was directly tied to 130% revenue growth in 2014.
I love how Kathryn used a single insight to not just create a new tagline but as the basis of new offers, new pricing, and new organization. That made all the difference for her in revenue, time, and confidence.
What could it do for you?
If you’d like to learn more about Kathryn and how productivity is a creative practice, hop on over to her website, Creating Your Plan.
If you’d like to learn more about Quiet Power Strategy and find your next business breakthrough, click here.
I don’t want to be a cheerleader. I want to have the best business-building tools available. Why? You (and your business) deserve them.
So, I thought, why not show you exactly how we build personalized strategic plans for helping entrepreneurs double their revenue with less heartache and hassle?
Over 3 years ago, I created step-by-step system directly from the work I did with 1:1 clients. I was have the same conversations with clients (about how their customers think, about how to translate passion into effective content marketing, about creating business assets from high touch services, etc…). Those conversations turned into the Quiet Power Strategy™ Tool Architecture.
Each tool is a conversation between you and me. The questions I ask are all there. The lessons are all there. The insights are all there.
Each of our Quiet Power Strategy clients complete the tools for themselves and then bring them to their strategist and to me for individual feedback. We can dramatically shorten the process of 1:1 business coaching and planning–while maintaining or improving the results.
Making a powerhouse business is complex–there’s no getting around that. But there is a clear system for all the moving parts. We specialize in helping our clients navigate it with clarity and ease.
Here’s what it looks like. Click on the picture to download it.
You might be trying to do all of this on your own. We’re here to help.
Here’s the gist:
We start by figuring out what’s worked and what hasn’t. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable because we get real about numbers, energetic investment, and how much time it’s taken to get where you are. We help you see both past failure and success as information you can use to grow your business.
Then we determine your personal assets: your Quiet Power. That includes the messages you’re really passionate about, the questions you have unique answers to, and the skills you’re bringing to the table. You feel the wealth of everything you have at hand.
Next, we examine your customer. Not just who s/he is (you probably already know that!) but how they think. I help you read their minds like you never have before. You feel powerful.
Then we turn that into a smart-for-you business model. We look at how all the pieces fit together so that you get more results out of every action. You experience the relief of seeing–finally–how it will all add up.
Next, you focus. One of our clients’ favorite modules is choosing their Chief Initiative and putting a plan in place to achieve their 1 big goal (supported, of course, by many other projects and subgoals).
Finally, we turn things outward and create a plan for creating awareness about the offers you have in your business model and getting your message into the media–both large and small. You see your path to impact.
If this is the kind of in-depth business planning you need to do and you’d like to do it with the guidance of the Quiet Power Strategy team and me, this is the time to register. The next cohort (starts September 28) is already over half sold out.
Learn more and join us today!
P.S. Don’t forget! Everyone in the Fall 2015 cohort of Quiet Power Strategy gets a ticket to the first ever Quiet Power Strategy Summit in Portland, OR April 30-May 1, 2016.
P.P.S. Want to incorporate these tools and this training into your own business? Maybe you’re a life coach, a copywriter, a web designer, or other business-to-business professional looking to add strategic services to your offers? We have a few spots open in our Quiet Power Strategy Business Strategist Training program. It starts next Monday–so check it out now!
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, 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.
You’re a passionate pro. Customers and clients love your work. You help people achieve their goals. But… your business seems stuck in a rut.
Mind you: it’s not a bad rut. You’re bringing in pretty consistent revenue. You know you can create new offers and sell them. You feel like people are listening.
But getting to your next big milestone? No clue.
Well, you have a clue. And that clue seems unpleasant: way more work, way more sleaze, way more money. So what do you do?
I’d been watching Randi Buckley for a long time before she came to us. Oh, how I longed to get my hands on her business. The situation I described above is the situation Randi found herself in. The answer to me was clear: Randi needed a machine.
Randi’s business model was nonexistent. Sure, there were offers (great ones!) and marketing (effective!) but there was no system.
Your business model is the way your business creates, delivers, and exchanges value. But what’s more, it’s a system by which you create exponentially more results from less work. You put effort (say, marketing for an entry level product) in at one end of the machine and lots of little cogs (say, revenue from your high-end program) spill out the other end.
When you have a complete business model, you understand how all of your offers work together to create something better than the sum of those parts.
That leads to profit. More than how much you take home, more than how much you’re charging, you can finally start to see how your business is going to generate the profit you need to grow, feel comfortable, and get excited about the future of what you’re creating.
Here’s Randi’s own words:
Randi Buckley, Truth, Depth, and Beauty School
I’m pretty dang pleased with how my business is evolving, or dare I say growing up, after interpreting and applying my learning and insights in Quiet Power Strategy™. It’s been a shift from a feeling of scramble, to a feeling of grace. So what’s new?
The concept of profit.
The idea of “charge what you’re worth” has always been hallow and empty to me. Not only is it impossible for me to try to put a price on someone’s, much less my own, talents and gifts, it doesn’t provide a framework for what to charge. It’s nebulous.
Looking at my offerings through a profit lens woke me up to the realities of why my business was never feeling like it was getting ahead, despite solid offerings, reputation and an exquisite tribe. Without considering profit, I always felt like I was in hustle mode. And that didn’t jive, because I’m not a hustler.
Note: if something doesn’t jive, it’s not going to happen.
What does jive is the creation of a new business model that houses my various offerings and provides structure and continuity for my clients to deepen their work with me. With the new structure of Truth, Depth, and Beauty School, I no longer feel like I am scrambling to care for the diversity of my offerings. Now, everything is under one roof: Healthy Boundaries for Kind People alumna can now become trained facilitators of the work; Viking Woman Workshop alumna can graduate to the Wise Women of the North Retreat in Norway, and my Maybe Baby, workshop, and my-one on-one clients can find their next step with me, in my school. It’s a structure I love, and supports my next step, writing my book.
There’s more to come. DIY won’t support long-term growth or sustainability of the spirit. Naturally, systems and the building of my team are next. And that’s both surreal, a relief… and full of grace. (Thanks Tara!)
Thank you, Randi.
If you’ve been wondering whether there really is a “next step” available to you, I can assure you there is. But it does take strategic planning.
If you’d like to find out more about Randi and her work, check out her Healthy Boundaries for Kind People program.
If you’re ready to make the time to create your own machine and a strategic plan for reaching your “next step” and a few beyond that, join me for 5 Ways to Make Time to Work on Your Business, a free training I’m offering with Brigitte Lyons. Click here to register.
How much time do you spend promoting your business? You’re on Facebook telling your friends that course you’ve been waiting for is finally ready. You’re at the local networking event hustling for a new client. You’re writing blog posts every week and hoping people click from post to buy now button.
Promoting your business can feel like a full-time job.
And even with all the time you spend on it, you still want more! More tactics for building your list, more techniques for getting seen on Facebook, more ideas for putting your business in front of your ideal clients.
As a small (or micro, or large) business owner, marketing truly is one of the most important aspects of running your business. But promotion is not.
Promotion—content or communication, paid or free, that’s express purpose is announcing your product to the right people—is the absolute smallest part of marketing.
What’s the biggest part of marketing? Listening.
Listening is powerful. When you’re truly attuned to the people you want to serve, you see how what’s most important to them is actually the key to connecting them to what you’re selling.
That’s why I’ve always made listening and observing such a priority on social media and at in-person events. I’m not just listening for opportunities to pitch myself—in fact, it’s the furthest thing from my mind.
I listen for what people’s goals are, what they’re struggling with, what they might be confused about, and all the things they’re trying to accomplish (whether it’s a good idea or not).
What I know about you, for instance, is that you’re really stuck on promoting your business. You hate being self-promotional, but most of the time your promotional posts are all about you or your offer—not about your clients. You don’t like it but you don’t know what to do different.
I also know that no matter how much I suggest testing a product before you bring it to market or finding the natural sense of urgency behind what you’re offering, you’ll come back for more tips on promoting your business.
It makes sense. Promoting what you’re selling seems like the shortest route to making money.
Except it’s not.
The shortest route to making money—the one that puts tons of time back into your schedule—is listening for what’s most important to people and giving them what they want.
How? Here’s the gist:
1) You observe their present reality.
You take the time to listen and observe. You take much more into account than just the messages or updates that seem have something to do with your business.
You listen for where they’re stuck, what their values are, and how their life unfolds on a daily basis. You figure out what they really want to accomplish—big or small.
2) You respond to their need.
You come up with a product idea that helps them accomplish whatever it is that’s important to them. It could be something incredibly simple (impulse buy) or something far more complex. But your product idea is a direct response to what they want.
3) You present them with a message that resonates.
You don’t tell them that new course is ready. You don’t tell them you’ve got 3 openings this month. You don’t get all excited about your new service and humble brag your way through a few Facebook posts.
You don’t waste time shouting from the roof tops about what you’ve made and why it’s awesome.
You talk to people about what matters to them (their relationship, the way they feel when they wake up, the deadline that’s looming over their head, etc…). You get specific because you know them so well (see Step 1).
People can’t help but get sucked in. They’re sucked in not because you’re selling them something or trying to convince them to buy, buy, buy but because you know them so well and have created something just for them.
That’s what works.
And it’s also what feels good.
If you’re feeling sucked in right now, it’s because I’ve spent the last 7 years trying to master those 3 simple steps. Of course, it’s not easy. I still mess up. But I have a feeling I’ve hit the nail on the head with this one.
If you’re ready to buy yourself some time, stop promoting your business, and start creating resonance, I’ve written a new mini-book just for you.
It’s called The Observation Engine and it turns those 3 simple steps into a whole system for taking the guesswork out of marketing (and sales, and product development.)
Click here to buy the multimedia pack (it’s just $4.99) or click here to buy the Kindle version directly from Amazon (it’s just $2.99).