I’ve started somewhere between 40 and 50 businesses since I was 10 years old.
The vast majority fell flat on their face before they had any legs. Some went on to produce a modest, passive income for me. A couple have gone really well.
When I’ve been brought in to consult for other entrepreneurs, to inject modern marketing tactics, that’s when things have gone crazy well. I learned a valuable lesson from this.
Charge clients less cash, in exchange for a percentage of the upside! I’ll tie this advice in to the question at the end, but first, a bit of a story.
I cringe thinking about how much money I could have made if I took my friend Joe’s advice when I first started my marketing agency. He had built a crazy successful agency from scratch, right out of college, working with big names in entertainment like Chance the Rapper.
When I was trying to decide how to negotiate compensation with my first client, I called Joe for advice. “We’ve had the most success charging clients on a performance basis.”
It sounded plausible to me, but it also sounded very risky.
Joe continued, “The client would rather pay you on upside, rather than risk a lot of cash on you up front? ”
“Of course,” I replied.
“Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe in the client’s business? Do you trust the client?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Joe concluded, “Get as much of the upside as you can.”
I didn’t listen to Joe. I knew the client was willing to pay me a significant cash retainer. So, I took the safe route. “I just want a steady start,” I told myself.
One month in, the client and I hit our stride in our cold email campaigns.
We used a simple 3 message sequence. We sent that sequence to 400 recipients.
In one week, we did $40,000 in revenue, shattering the client’s previous record.
No one can tell you what specific activity you should do to make money, as I have no idea what you or other readers are good at.
Figure out how you can apply your skills to solve other people’s problems. Their problems don’t have to involve making money, like it did in my case. Marketing and sales just so happen to be some of my greatest strengths, and I saw an opportunity to inject more modern, scalable marketing techniques into my client’s business that made him more successful.
“Get paid. Get laid. Lose weight.” These are often touted as the easiest end results you can sell.
I present them to you to reiterate that the solution or end result that you sell doesn’t have to involve money. More importantly, notice that I didn’t present the following: “Don’t lose money. Don’t get laid less. Don’t gain weight.”
It’s easier to sell people on the upside. Always frame your proposition as a way to get your customer more upside. The upside is often infinite. Downside is finite (cost reduction, for instance).
Furthermore, if you actually believe you can do what you say you can, align your interests with your customer’s interests. Charge a percentage or bonus structure that rewards you generously if you deliver, and that presents a small risk to your customer if you don’t.
These tactics will make it tremendously easier to sell your services. And if you’re any good at what you do, you will make much more money.