In today’s episode, Austin and Taylorr are flying solo, answering one of the most popular questions we get asked on a regular basis.
It all revolves around the revenue streams available to us as thought leaders, how to make money, and knowing when to add a revenue stream to your business.
Whether you’re just starting out or if you’re an established business, there’s always the thought of other revenue streams and how to craft the business of your dreams.
In this episode, we’re breaking down what those revenue streams are, the pros and cons of each, and the expectations you should have about them.
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Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and in today’s episode; we’re talking about all of the revenue streams of thought leadership, and Austin and I are talking about this solo today. And this is because we get a ton of questions every single week, especially, in our coaching program, around when’s the best time to launch a new offer or launch a new revenue stream. Or if somebody’s just starting out, what revenue streams should they pick and what revenue streams exist in the thought leadership world, and should you eventually try and tap into all the different revenue streams that thought leadership has to offer?
Should you keep it simple? How do you know which one’s best for you? And so, we decided it would be a perfect time to talk about exactly that. So, in today’s episode, Austin and I are chatting about all the different revenue streams in thought leadership, the pros and cons of each, the difference between B2B and B2C selling, particularly, with each revenue stream. And we’re going a bit deeper on how to choose the right ones, depending on where you’re at in your business.
So, if you’ve been thinking about adding on a revenue stream, if you’re just starting out, you’re trying to determine which revenue stream would be best to tap into right away, this is, certainly, the episode for you. As always, like, rate, and subscribe it, and we hope you enjoy this one. We made it. Austin, a solo show. It’s been a while.
Austin: I know. It’s a little lonely.
Taylorr: It is a little lonely. Yeah.
Austin: Yeah. I’m stuck with you, so I guess it’s okay.
Taylorr: Yeah. Well, I’m in the same boat.
Austin: This is a healthy relationship, everyone. We promise.
Taylorr: Oh, it’s so funny, we hang out all the time together and we had to do a podcast and it feels a little weird, doesn’t it? Not having a guest there to, I just like being a student, a lot of the time, on our shows and it feels like today we just get to talk about whatever is up here.
Austin: I know, we have so much responsibility.
Taylorr: I know, right?
Austin: Yeah. Best of luck, everyone.
Taylorr: Yeah. Good luck to you while you listen to our soapbox today. No, so this is going to be a really good episode because, and, surprisingly, after 90 and change episodes, we even haven’t touched on this subject, I think. And so, it’s going to be a pretty interesting one to tap into today and we get these questions all the time, specifically, relating to how to create revenue as a thought leader, for example, if you’re just starting out, in what order should you be developing your content? How should you package your offerings to sell for speaking, consulting, and so on?
We get a lot of ideas, a lot of people want to produce courses and write books, and there are a bunch of revenue streams we’re going to talk about here today, but in that light, if somebody’s already an established business as well, our coaching clients all the time are like, they’ll say something like, oh, I have this new idea. I want to launch this new offering. I want to create a course, or I want to write a new book or I want to do licensing or whatever it might be.
And so, we’re often kind of poised with the question of how do I do this and how does it fit with the rest of my business and, Austin, I know you see this all the time too, but I think what can happen, especially, if you’re already a kind of operational business is, you end up creating a bunch of different revenue streams that don’t really end up working together to facilitate the goal. And now you’ve just kind of landed yourself in operational hell, it feels like, trying to sell all of these things and being disappointed by other revenue streams and kind of excited by others that are performing well or you have a certain revenue stream that you want to sell less of and sell more over here. It can get pretty tricky if we don’t have any context for how to structure those offers, and so.
Austin: For sure.
Taylorr: Hoping to uncover some of that today.
Austin: Yeah. Well, even logistics aside too, one of the problems that, we’ve run into this ourselves, actually, certainly, a lot of our content.
Taylorr: Sure, oh, yeah.
Austin: But you risk diluting your brand presence and the perception that people have about you, if you are unintentional about how you craft all these revenue streams. And this is kind of a tricky subject, because, on one hand, I think less is more, I think most people would agree that less is more, the fewer offers or the tighter your offers are the better, because the easier it is for you to be able to communicate it, the easier it is for your clients to be able to communicate it to others and refer you. So, there are good reasons there, but if you’re listening to this episode, you probably align yourselves more with the visionary type, and so it’s in your nature to want to create more and be a visionary, for lack of a better word.
And so, this episode isn’t meant to, necessarily, encourage you or discourage you from creating something new. I think, skipping to the end a little bit here, the main point is that we just have to be intentional about it, and so from my perspective and, Taylorr, I think you’d agree with this. Really, what I’m hoping we can accomplish with this episode, is, A, exposing you to the different ways that you can package your expertise to create revenue, but also the implications of creating these different offers, the pros, and cons, the logistical concerns that you want to be aware of, the most appropriate place to be using these different revenue streams.
And we don’t, necessarily, want you to walk away going, I’m going to start four more offers up this week. But, maybe, it’ll give you a sense of where you can take your business over the long haul or even better, how you can sort of bring the offers that you already have together in a way that turns them into an ecosystem of source for your clients, where you’re helping them solve problems just from different angles.
So, this is a good episode, I’m hoping that everybody that’s listening takes something away from this. Before we do, though, I think it’s probably relevant to just, and we’ve asked our guests to do this many times, I don’t think you and I have ever done this, but let’s define this business model. What is a thought leadership or an expert business from your perspective, Taylorr?
Taylorr: Oh, man, I love this question. So, basically, it’s an information-based business, so if you’re unfamiliar with that term too, just do a little bit of Googling, basically; but it’s anybody that provides information or acts as a filter for a, really, complex subject or complex ideas and makes them very simple for their clients to achieve outcomes. I don’t know, for example, maybe you’re an innovation expert. Innovation can be pretty complex for people who don’t have a box for that and are kind of just winging it, and so your clients, they go and do some Googling, they read a bunch of books and now they have a bunch of information that’s been regurgitated for thousands and thousands of years, and they have no idea what to do with it.
And so, a thought leader truly distills down, acts as a filter, so that their clients or the people that they serve, the people they want to provide value to, your audience, can realize the outcomes that they’re hoping for using your methods, basically. So, you’re providing information, acting as a filter, and distilling down the most important things into a process, ideally, that somebody can follow to achieve a certain outcome. And what I think is fascinating, though, as we’ve been getting deeper and deeper into the thought leadership world. Very few people even define their own businesses as a thought leadership business, they’ll say, I’m a speaker.
And everything will be about the delivery method, and so now they want to do more training, or they want to do courses, and to your point earlier, Austin, well, you’ve branded yourself as a speaker this entire time, you’re going to have to rebrand everything just because you want to create another offer. Your expertise has to come first in a thought leadership business and, usually, in a thought leadership or an information-based business, you’re solving a problem that your audience has.
And so, you’re an innovation expert; we’re systems experts, you have something and an expert there and then you have all of these ways of delivering said expertise to somebody. Do you know what I mean?
Austin: Oh, man, beautifully said. Yes. I think the core thing there to summarize that, an expert is somebody who has a significant specialty in an area, and that specialty solves a very specific problem out there in the market. So, if you’re a specialist of some kind and you solve a problem, then really, you’re an expert business, you’re a thought leadership business, because it’s your take on it. I, actually, think before we move on to the specific revenue streams, I want to point out something that I think a lot of people struggle with, which is this sense of imposter syndrome as it relates to being a thought leader or an expert, right?
Because, probably, for a lot of you that are listening there, you could put yourself in, let’s say the leadership category of thought leaders, right? This is just the most poignant example, it exists everywhere, but there are a lot of people that will say like, well, I’m not really a thought leader because I’m talking about the same thing that everybody else talks to. And I disagree with that entirely, and I think there’s an analogy, a phrase that sticks around, which is, it’s the same statue, but a different angle, and, really, it’s your perspective that makes it so valuable, right?
Because some people will hear the same message three different times, but it takes the right combination of words and stories, and analogies to be able to really get the concept. And so, if you have a specialty or an expertise, it doesn’t matter how many other people are out there, you’re a thought leader by definition; because you have a unique perspective on the problem that only some people will be able to actually receive, and so it’s a beautiful thing and it’s an important thing. And, actually, I think, really, what happens with a thought leadership business, it’s the evolution of that phrase, I know enough to be dangerous.
And there’s, I forget the actual term for this, Taylorr, maybe you remember, but I think it’s called the expert curve or something like this, but, essentially, what happens is, as you’re trying to solve a specific problem, if you’re just being introduced to the problem or the concept of the problem, you tend to have beginner’s luck. And it’s because you don’t know enough, and so you tend to keep things very simple and, as it so happens, keeping things simple tends to get you really good results.
But the more you learn, the more complicated the subject gets in your brain, you’re receiving all this information, but you haven’t found a good way to, I don’t know, compartmentalize it or draw boundaries around it in a way that makes the information useful. And so, what an expert is really good at is taking these complex things where people may know a lot about a subject, but not in a cohesive way, and you’re taking the ideas and distilling them down into very simple to understand concepts to help people get past that curve, where they’re overcomplicating things and their results are lacking because of that. Simplifying it, plus, the added context of the information tends to get you the best results possible.
And, honestly, I think a lot about this episode ties into that idea here, which is that all of these revenue streams that you have available to you are just different ways to package your expertise in a way that it connects to the person that has the problem that you’re trying to solve. And, really, it’s the context of the situation and how much handholding somebody wants to be able to make that possible. So, anyway, thought leadership as a whole, you’re an expert because you take something very complex and make it simple, and your perspective on that is going to resonate with a specific number of people and will help them actually solve the problem.
Austin: Can you summarize that? How’d we do?
Taylorr: Good. I think we did great. Honestly, it was funny, as you were breaking down the expert curve again, it’s been a while since I was introduced to that, so thanks for the refresher, but it’s kind of similar to how businesses kind of start and then get polished up. Businesses start with a bang, you do great your first year, you’re doing things really simply; maybe you’re only offering one thing at that time. And then you start to get more and more information, you dilute it with a bunch of these offers and you, eventually, have to re-simplify and bring it back home, basically. So, I think that expert curve not only applies to just expertise in general, but, honestly, to the nature of a lot of our people’s businesses, you know?
Austin: Amen. Yes.
Austin: So, everybody, use this context as we talk about everything else that we’re about to talk to. Yeah.
Taylorr: Okay. So, Austin, who’s buying from a thought leader? What types of people, companies, or individuals are both, who buy from a thought leader?
Austin: Yeah. Well, anybody with a problem that you solve, so that’s very broad, let’s get a little bit more specific. There are two major categories, right? There’s, we’re selling to companies, B2B and we’re selling to individuals, B2C. And these, really, in, basically, every way are different from one another.
Taylorr: Oh, yeah.
Austin: Now, there’s crossover, because, ultimately, what we’re doing is solving a problem, so a lot of the content delivery is going to be the same, but the way that we market and sell B2B things versus B2C things are vastly different. So, maybe, let’s talk about a couple of those differences, what do you think is unique to selling B2B?
Taylorr: B2B is, generally, really, a high-ticket sale, and let’s define high ticket as north of $5,000. I know not everyone is selling north of 5,000 yet, but, ideally, you’re selling well beyond that, right? Mid-range association budgets, 10 to $20,000 for opening and closing keynote speakers, consulting contracts 50,100, we just had a client close a $125,000 consulting agreement, right? So, that renews maybe on a yearly basis, so we’re talking massive, massive revenue exchanges. And so, the way you need to potentially sell that, it’s a long-haul relationship, you’re not doing like, download my lead magnet and get all of these offers afterward and be on my list forever and I’m ready to buy a 125K thing.
Usually, in business-to-business scenarios, and I think this is why a lot of our clients’ businesses are driven off of referrals, is because they’re very individually, one-to-one relationship-oriented, basically. Now, if you’re first starting out, you don’t have that referral base yet, then you’re doing a lot of cold outreaches, building those relationships manually, no automation, very methodically, no spray and pray. And you’re getting somebody to develop that relationship, that trust in you, to then say, wow, you are the person to help solve this problem.
B2C, in my opinion, is often much lower-ticket stuff, let’s say anything south of $5,000, so courses and books and maybe other digital products and things, subscriptions, membership sites, those types of offerings. And, quite honestly, the challenge with a B2C is the same law of averages applies between B2B and B2C, so what I mean by that, is the law of averages is this, kind of, notion in sales and marketing, that it generally takes 50 conversations or touchpoints to yield one sale.
So, the downside to B2C is that law of averages still applies, now granted, you can do this with automation and email marketing and touchpoints, and so on, that maybe aren’t so methodical, but in order to sell a thousand of a $200 item, so a thousand of those things, you have to have impressions on 50,000 people. And so, B2C can be difficult, even though it’s more passive, simply because the same law of averages applies, and you still need to talk to or get in front of that many people to be able to buy that one thing.
So, the pros, though, to B2C, is that there’s less on the line, you sell a $200 course, well, that’s totally worth 200 bucks. You sell a $125,000 consulting agreement, well, we have some cheddar on the line to deliver on and depending on your personality type and how valuable your offering is, and so on, the decision can be made between what’s your preference there. But I think most thought leadership businesses orient around B2B and then the discovery, eventually, a path of how to do more B2C, however, I think some of those expectations of what B2C will actually yield in their business can be a little off kilter, which I’m sure we’ll touch on.
Austin: Yeah, definitely. I think, long story short here, B2B tends to be high, personal touch, high gain per sale, whereas B2C tends to be low personal touch and low value per sale.
Taylorr: Wow. That was beautiful.
Austin: You have to contextualize that, right? And, man, I’m really excited to get into some of these things here, let’s make the segue into some different revenue streams, and I want to, actually, jump to B2C and courses first, and that’s because it seems like every day somebody is saying, I’m going to launch a new course and it’s going to make a million dollars.
Taylorr: Let me know how it goes.
Austin: It’s not wrong. I don’t want to make people feel like it’s impossible to make money selling courses, because it’s a hundred percent possible. But I think the thing that people forget, especially, if there’s already an established B2B business, is that it requires a robust marketing backend.
Taylorr: Oh, yeah.
Austin: To support the B2C side of courses, which is, typically, how courses get sold, there’s crossover, and we can talk about that. But, you just said it, Taylorr, if you’re going to have, let’s say you sell your course for 200 bucks, right? And you want to make, I don’t know, what is it, a quarter of a million dollars a year or something from that revenue stream? So, is that a thousand, roughly, people somewhere in that ballpark?
Taylorr: Yeah. Let’s call it a thousand.
Austin: Let’s say it’s a thousand people, right? To make a quarter of a million dollars off of your courses.
Taylorr: We’re good at math here at Speaker Flow.
Austin: Which people are excited about. So, as you just mentioned, the law of averages says that 50,000 people need to get.
Taylorr: Need to know about it.
Austin: Be made aware of the thing that you’re doing and, probably, be opting-in to some sort of funnel-esque mechanism to be able to, actually, sell them that thing. And so, I think people jump the gun a little bit and I don’t mean to be generalizing, people is such a crappy term, but I hear it all the time, people underestimate what it’s, actually, going to take to sell something. And so, how many times have you heard this story, Taylorr? I set up a course inside of Kajabi, it’s amazing. Four people have bought it and three of them are my family members and one of them is my business partner that I refunded the money back to, because it was just a test.
Taylorr: Yeah, all the time.
Austin: It’s a lot.
Taylorr: All the time.
Austin: And it’s because we create it with this sense that it’s going to work the same way B2B does, which is we get it in front of a select group of people that have a highly targeted problem, and then we’re able to close those and make a bunch of money, but, in reality, you cannot do that. And the systems required to be able to sell that are so much more substantial and sophisticated than it takes for B2B.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: For example, how many people have we talked to that run half a million dollar plus, businesses off of a spreadsheet because they’re selling major high-ticket consulting deals?
Austin: A lot.
Taylorr: Yeah. Two or three times a week I have a sales conversation, they’re like, I just want better systems so I can go do, that’s fine, but you’re already killing it. You can make some damage with a spreadsheet and a high-ticket offer.
Austin: For sure. That’s exactly right. And it’s because, ultimately, what it requires to sell that is, a way to keep track of the individuals that you need to follow up with, a mechanism to know when the next time you should be circling back to them is, and a way to take general notes along the way so that there’s contextual understanding as you go through that process. So, the number of things that are required to keep track of is minimal, but if you’re going to sell a thousand courses, you’re not doing that with a thousand people, you can’t, there’s no bandwidth, maybe if you have a massive team, but even then, it’s probably a poor use of that team’s time.
And so, you have to have a CRM to be able to keep track of all the individuals, you need regular email marketing, a welcome series.
Taylorr: Regular, emphasis on that.
Austin: Your website has to have ways to opt people in, you need all these various marketing mechanisms to get in front of 50,000 people, maybe that’s ads, maybe it’s getting on podcast, there’s so much more work beyond just sending emails and making phone calls to people that you think you can help. And it’s because of this volume component, because you can’t just do it on the one-to-one side of things.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: And course, this is the best example of that, but there are other B2C mechanisms that would fall into the same category, like physical products, if you sell a book or some swag or something, or your digital products, you have an e-book that somebody can go and download or a challenge that somebody can participate in. All of these are different revenue streams that you can take advantage of in the B2C world, but your systems have to support an extremely high level of volume for it to become, actually, profitable.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: And another thing, and I’m going to get off my soapbox soon, but I just, man, it turns out I’m really passionate about this. I think people don’t take into consideration both the front end and the backend logistics of this.
Taylorr: Backend, that’s exactly right, that’s what I was going to say.
Taylorr: Will they hear passive and, oh, it’s passive. Did anything about what Austin just outlined feel passive to you? Because if so, just stop listening, there’s no point. Just end the show. No, there’s no such thing as passive revenue, come at me in the comments, I firmly believe there’s no such thing as it. It all requires a tremendous amount of work, and so nothing, it’s all active and you have to do it at scale, and how many of you guys listening right now, love technology?
Austin: A minority, maybe.
Taylorr: Exactly. You just need such infrastructure to be able to pull that stuff off, and, again, we’re not trying to discourage anybody from this, but.
Taylorr: Understand what your expectations are of this thing, because it’s not field of dreams when you launch a course.
Austin: No it’s not. Probably, you’re going to make $500 in your first year of marketing it. And then as your systems improve, as your metrics improve, as you’re able to test and execute different strategies, probably, there will be an inflection point, people call it the hockey stick curve. This happens a lot in the eCommerce world, which is B2B, where it takes a long time to build the initial ramp and then maybe you blow up and we can’t, obviously, bank on that happening, but it’s possible that after a long time of this time investment, you’re able to sell a bunch of these consistently and it becomes very stable because there are a lot of people paying you small amounts of money.
There are lots of pros to do this as well, there are lots of good reasons why this could be valuable, but the expectations are really the important part, prepare to invest a substantial amount of time and energy and focus to get it off the ground.
Austin: For a year or longer to be able to really start to see the benefits of this.
Austin: And it’s true in a lot of areas of business, but certainly for this.
Taylorr: Yeah. And you just have to spend all your time marketing it past that point, once it’s up and running, you have all the systems, now you just have to be in front of people nonstop so you can refine that and move people through the process. And a year goes by, is your course content even still up to date? Chances are you have to continue managing the thing, and so it’s all still very possible, but I think B2C revenue streams are really good for really established operational businesses with large audiences already.
There’s been use case after use case where we found where clients who have really engaged and large audiences, let’s say north of 20,000 active email subscribers with 30 to 40% open rates, die-hard followings. They can do pretty well launching a course, getting that in front of people, and let’s acknowledge the fact, a course is a way for somebody or a book, another digital product; it’s a way for somebody to get your value out to the masses for people who can’t, necessarily, afford a 10, 15, $20,000 revenue stream.
So, they’re perfectly valuable revenue streams, but are you at the point in your business where you’re able to redirect your focus into a B2C offering and distract away from your potential earnings on a B2B offering, like speaking consulting, training, licensing and so on? I think this is the importance of strategic planning, a little bit, what do you want out of your business? I’ve run into even successful people who have nailed all of these revenue streams, they have speaking, they have consulting, they have licensing, a little bit of coaching, they have courses.
At some point, they’re just like; I just created a bunch of stuff I don’t, actually, want to manage, like some realities about B2C stuff. Somebody buys a $200 course, oh, hey, I didn’t log in for a full year, can I get a refund? How many times are you going to have to deal with that type of stuff? And all of a sudden you end up realizing that in order to maintain the thing you created, isn’t the type of work you wanted to be doing in the first place, and so, I think when it really comes to your revenue streams as a thought leader, it all has to start with this strategic planning component. So, Austin, you’re nodding a lot over there, I imagine you have thoughts about strategic planning.
Austin: Ah, yeah. Yes. All processes and systems and methods of doing this aside, the bottom line is that you have to just be intentional, and you have to take your time and look at all of the angles and the implications in terms of whatever decision that you make, don’t jump into it. If I hear another person that said, hey, somebody told me that I need to create a course, so I just spent the last three weeks creating a course, now what do I do with it? It’s a bad idea. I love the passion and I love that people are willing to just go out and do stuff, but just do it intentionally, be intentional, and we’re talking about B2C, this is a thousand percent applicable for B2B too.
The number of times I’ve heard somebody say, yeah, I decided to take on this consulting agreement that came my way and I am way in over my head and have a substantial amount of money on the table because of it; you don’t want to have that liability. So, just think it through, don’t do whatever it is that you feel is going to create maximum value for you and your audience, no matter what revenue stream that is, but be intentional and think it through and set expectations, probably low, but certainly define what your expectations are so that you don’t end up spinning your wheels for six months and then feel like you wasted a whole bunch of time.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: I think it’s sort of the bottom line. So, okay, let’s transition, let’s talk about, sort of, these crossover things, right? Because we’ve mentioned a couple of these B2C arms that can be applicable for B2B too, courses being the big one. Honestly, this is the best way to sell courses. You sell them in a massive package to a big company that’s going to give it to all their employees; it becomes a B2B offer delivered in a B2C format. Booya. You can take that to the bank. What other crossovers are there?
Taylorr: Yeah. Physical products, we see this all the time with books, little, I’ve even seen, I’m going to call them knick-knacks, sorry, guys. But that they would supply along with a talk, some way to remember them, wristbands, I’ve seen carabiners, custom-branded books, just things to kind of reinforce the speaking that’s an add-on type of package. You sell your talk, for 10 grand, hey, for 2,500, I can deck out your entire audience with something to take home. They say, wow, that sounds great. And you’ve made money selling physical products to a B2B client.
So, that’s probably the most common one. And there are probably other digital products, I’ve even seen paid email subscriber lists for drip content, which is kind of a surprising model, more ongoing kind of drip training through email marketing, I’ve seen that sold in a B2B sense. But I think the two most common are courses and books and then other swag that might be applicable to an engagement.
Austin: For sure. Yep. I see coaching sort of fitting in that line too, because coaching tends to be.
Taylorr: Yeah, coaching too.
Austin: Delivered one-on-one.
Taylorr: Yeah. It could be at the executive level, you know?
Austin: Yeah. I think, it’s most common that coaching becomes an element that gets included in some other offer.
Austin: For example, there’s a lot of coaching that gets done in big consulting agreements all the time, where we’re coaching individuals in an organization through the implementation of the bigger thing that we’re working on together. But coaching can also be done one-on-one, and coaching is, actually, one of those that can be extremely lucrative too, there are a lot of people that make a lot of money by doing coaching in the B2C world and in the B2B world. It’s also one of the ones that’s also the most abstract, though, coaching, because how do you really define that, are you a coach that’s helping with performance? Are you a coach that’s helping individuals solve a problem for the greater good of the company?
So, that’s the one that I feel needs the most explanation and definition scenario by scenario because there are connotations that come with coaching, where if we’re not addressing that ahead of time, it can get a little tricky, I think we know because we’re coaches.
Taylorr: Yep, totally.
Austin: Yeah. So, courses and then, really, I think the bottom line is, you’re, typically, bundling B2C things with a B2B offer. Any B2C thing can get bundled. And I mentioned this a second ago, going to reiterate it one more time. This is probably the preferable way to do this if you’re looking for maximum dollars for the lowest effort, because you don’t have to worry about the volume the same way, you’re just taking what you’ve created and tacking it onto this other thing. Not enough people take advantage of that either, I don’t think.
Taylorr: Well, no, I think, well, it’s easy to just create black and white lines, this is only B2C, this is only B2B, there’s no way my B2B, a lot of the imposter syndrome can kick in there, but, yeah, we’ve definitely seen the opposite; selling top down to courses, books, all that stuff. And, honestly, we’ve talked about a lot of different revenue streams here, right? So, let’s just outline these one more time; speaking, consulting, coaching, training, licensing, courses, other digital products, and then just let’s call it general physical products, right? All of those require different mindsets and passions and goals of the person, here’s a great example.
I would say at Speaker Flow, we are a thought leadership business; the way we deliver that is through coaching, primarily, and implementation of a system, should people want it, right? I don’t like speaking that much, you guys, I’m, personally, not the biggest fan, I would rather coach, I would rather implement, I’d rather sell digital products and I’d rather do a lot of B2C stuff. So, you really have to be intentional about what it is that you want as a person, you don’t need to do all of those revenue streams, but, as a human being, what do you love to do?
And I think this ties back to the whole intentional thing, if you can structure your offers in a way that you know you love delivering them in, and that tie back into your vision and that can make you the money that you want to hit in order to satisfy your lifestyle and business needs, what else is there to it? Just remove the ‘should’ mentality, I feel like, and really be intentional with what your offers are and you’re going to get there, maybe a little bit of trial and error, but expectations and being intentional with what your plan is and designing a business that you actually love running and being a part of; that’s the whole reason why we started a business in the first place, right?
Yeah, you want to solve problems, but chances are, you also had some lifestyle goals in mind, and those two things, I think are united when you start your business and get further and further apart, kind of, tying back to that expert curve. And, eventually, we need to bring those back together and make sure that what we’re designing is the thing we actually want to be running, you know?
Austin: Amen. A hundred percent. So, let’s tie this episode up by doubling back to the questions that we referenced at the beginning of this episode; there are, typically, two questions that we get. The first one is, I already have an operational business and I’m thinking about adding in a new offer, should I, basically? And then the second one is, I’m starting from ground zero with my company and I’m trying to launch my first thing, which of these different offerings should I be considering? So, let’s address both of those to wrap this thing up.
Austin: Taylorr, why don’t you answer the question of, you have an operational business, I’m thinking about starting a new offering, should I?
Taylorr: Yeah. So, okay. This is solely dependent on where you’re starting from an operational business, are you already doing speaking? Are you already doing consulting? I’m going to go with a more textbook scenario that we run into all the time. Usually, there’s a lot of speaking happening, maybe some light consulting on the side, and then now they want to look at developing more B2C offers to pad the revenue for speaking. Maybe they want to travel less, maybe they just want to have extra income coming through, and so the answer is, should I solely depend on what you want out of your business? But I would say if you can see a path forward where you can bundle it with the things you’re already selling, then, yes, absolutely.
Now, before you go nuts and build out the entire thing; sell it, start talking about it before you actually launch it, this is, single-handedly, the best way to test any new offering is to get it in front of your past clients, the people you’re actively talking with. And if there’s a lot of interest, be transparent with somebody and say, hey, I’m going to design this specifically for you guys, and you can even give them a discounted offer, but sell it before you actually build the thing and get that validation before doing it.
And if you’ve gotten some proof that people will buy it and they’re excited by it, that’s going to give you more energy to go and design that offering in a way that you’ll be able to then sell it, rather than going in blind to creating something and having no means to actually sell it. So, the answer, should, solely depends on you validating that offer and do that with the client base you already have.
Austin: Yep. Love that. There’s a flow chart, almost, a decision tree here. It’s like, should I launch the new offer? Have you been asked for it? If, yes, then continue. If, no, go talk to people first.
Austin: If you have been asked for it, does it fit in line with the bigger picture of your business? Are you going to enjoy doing it? If, yes, continue. If, no, just keep doing what’s already working. Maybe we’ll create an actual flow chart someday.
Taylorr: Yeah, that would be interesting.
Austin: Because I don’t know how to keep going with branches in a verbal way.
Taylorr: You’ll lose sight of it pretty quickly.
Austin: Look out for that someday, a new resource added to the Speaker Flow resource library. Okay. So, I’ll address the question, I’m starting from scratch, where do I start? Number one is what are you most excited about? What is the thing that you’re going to wake up every day and be pumped to talk to people about? That’s honestly it, because the thing that people forget about when you’re starting a business is it has so much less to do with the logistics behind your delivery, as much as it is about the passion and excitement that you feel about helping your clients solve the problem through whatever mechanism is available to you.
So, if you think standing on stage will give you the excitement and energy that you need in your life, go speak. If you want to go really deep with clients and help them solve problems and workshop things together, go consult. You want to just talk to a bunch of people on the internet and give them content for them to go watch on their own, go build the course, but it starts with the thing that you really want, craft a vision. Think through what you’re trying to create over the long haul. Don’t do it because somebody told you to, don’t do it because it looks sexy from the outside, do it because you’ve defined what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, and then reverse engineer which of these streams best matches with that long-term vision of yours that you have.
If all of them sound attractive to you and you’re thinking about which one to start with, we’re Speaker Flow, and so I think there’s good reason to say that speaking is a fantastic way to get your thought leadership out there, for two major reasons. For one, it’s B2B, and so you have a substantial amount of control over the process, as it relates to getting new clients, you can, without any assets go out there and just have conversations with people and you can make money doing this.
In fact, one of my favorite people I’ve ever talked to, I wish so badly I could remember his name and I’d give you a shout-out. I will after this episode, but he has no website, no official speaker demo reel, no sizzle thing, his entire business strategy, is he gets on LinkedIn and he connects with people that he thinks he can help. And he just talks to them, not even in a salesy way, like, hey, I’m really good at this, what are you good at? Let’s exchange some ideas. That dude is going to make half a million dollars a year from his speaking, because his networking is leading to the connections required to get paid, and that’s built up over time, to now he has a reputation he’s going out and doing the thing.
So, this is an anecdote, obviously, but this anecdote suggests that you don’t need a bunch of flashy stuff to make it happen; you just need to be able to build relationships and do it with a smile on your face, in a lot of ways. So, speaking is great because it’s relationship-focused, it’s very much in your control and it’s also the best marketing vehicle that you could ever hope for, for any of the other revenue streams that you ever want to sell. In fact, as far as I know, it’s the only marketing vehicle available to us that pays us to do our marketing.
Taylorr: To do the marketing. Yeah.
Austin: It’s a beautiful thing. So, if you want to go sell consulting, go speak about it, go solve problems from the stage and then let people be attracted to how you can help them do it, not just get the information, but, actually, go and execute on it. That’s our take. There you could, look; you can skin this cat a million ways. There’s no right way to do this. The right way to do this is the way that is exciting and fun for you and delivers maximum value for your clients. As long as those two things are happening, there’s no wrong way to do this.
Taylorr: That’s right. Point blank.
Austin: We had a good soapbox here today; I think we did the thing.
Taylorr: That’s a great soapbox.
Taylorr: Wow. I feel like I just had a therapy session or something, I feel lighter.
Austin: That’s good, relieve some pressure. Okay, everybody, we’re going to leave you with that.
Taylorr: We’ll leave you with that. As always, if you like this episode, don’t forget to like it, subscribe to it. If you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.
Austin: See you next time.