In today’s episode, Anna looks at questions you can ask yourself in order to choose a business model that works for you.
When deciding on a business model, any expert or online resource from a quick Google is going to tell you that you need to look at things like market potential, the right revenue model, your value proposition, what problem are you solving, your competitive landscape, and so on.
But aside from the financials of the business, your business model also needs to work FOR YOU. So we’re looking at some of the questions you need to ask yourself in order to choose the model that’s going to work for your personal situation and preferences and the kind of business that you want to run.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
The One Step Outside Facebook group– Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate
Hello there and welcome back to the Reimagining Success podcast. My name is Anna Lundberg, and we’ve started talking about choosing the right business model. Last week, I dropped a bomb, as they say in the industry, and I let you know the big secrets that most gurus will not want you to know, which is, “Hey, pretty much anybody’s strategy, anybody’s formula or approach to building your business, marketing your business, selling your products and services is going to work if you just follow it well. If you show up, if you do the work, if you make it work for you.”
Now, that sounds pretty simple. Of course, it’s not quite that easy. And today we’ll talk about, okay, how can you choose the right business model, the right marketing and sales strategies, the right structure for your business, and what other criteria you need to consider when you do so. Now, when we talk business models, it’s easy to get a bit confused and distracted by what the formal definition is. Ultimately, it’s how your business makes money. Let’s leave it at that.
Because there are lots of complicated ways, and is it a business model? Is it a business plan? Is it a revenue model? Business model?
And we talk about drop shipping, and E-commerce, retail, manufacturing, all sorts. We talk about subscription models, affiliate marketing. We talk about all these different types of services, software as a service, and so on. Most of you listening, I would hazard a guess, now, if you’re not, then by all means tell me, but most of you are probably solopreneurs, service providers, coaches, consultants, freelancers. So drop me an email email@example.com. If that’s not you, I’d love to hear from you. And I know I do have some clients who are selling products rather than services.
However, the crux of it is, that you’re working pretty much by yourself. You’re designing this business mostly for lifestyle reasons, you’re escaping the 9-5 as I always talk about, getting away from maybe a toxic work environment in an office, wanting more freedom, more autonomy, more creative possibilities and opportunities, more time to be with your family to travel, and so on, then a full-time job can afford you. So great if you can look into, flipping houses, or drop shipping and whatever, and in fact, maybe those are great ways to diversify your income stream. What I’m talking about today is more of this coaching, consulting, freelancing service based business.
So why do you need to think about a business model? Hey, I’m just a solopreneur. I’m just a freelancer. That is my business model. Why do I need to even bother with this? Well, let’s think about this again, this is how you’re going to make money. So of course it’s having a strategy for how you’re going to make money. And let’s look at a few different examples and I’m going to list lots of things, and I will look down at my notes. Those of you who are watching this on YouTube, we’ll see my eyes flit back and forth just because there’s so many different things we can consider.
But if, again, we’ve put aside all those formal definitions, well think about, okay, fundamentally, am I selling products or services? That’s already a core part of the business. As I said, I have some clients who are selling products, but most of us are selling services. However, even when we’re selling services, probably we’ll be selling some products. So even if I’m selling, and this is what we’ll talk about in a moment, one-to-one coaching and so on, I might also offer a course, and that then becomes a product. If I’m selling products, I might also offer a service on top so that’s where it gets a little bit complicated.
But products and services, are we a freelancer? Are you a freelancer who’s trading time for money? Are you working in the gig economy as more of a contractor?
You don’t think like a business you’re not running your own business, you’re still working on a contractual basis for a client who pretty much, defines the terms and you have to chase payments and so on, and there’s lots of advantages to that, but that’s one way of working. The so-called gig economy, the contractual formats, and working as a freelancer.
I know my sister who’s big in the freelancing world is always talking about how freelancers need to think like a business. And that’s really important. So even if you are just a freelance, this is just as important for you as well. But are you doing that? Are you working, are you being paid by the hour? Or by project perhaps? Or are you leveraging your time a bit more? Are you selling courses, or are you selling memberships? So a course arguably can have lots of different formats, but basically it’s more, self-directed, it’s more passive from your perspective as the business owner, the teacher, you will have recorded things. Of course, you can have a live course as well, but it’s a structured six week, 12 week, three month, 12 module programme, whatever, for your clients.
People can, many people can take this course, especially if there’s no live element there, and they can just buy it’s an ever green funnel potentially and so on. Or a membership. A membership, lower level cost per month, but you’re keeping them in, in that subscription model, which is really attractive from a revenue basis, you’re getting an ongoing income every month. And if you have great content and if you have good retention strategies, you’re going to keep people in the business. You’re going to keep them in the membership, and then you don’t have these big peaks and troughs in your business.
Now, thinking about marketing strategies, are you going to have launches? So whatever you use for the launch, are you going to have launches every quarter and then close the doors in between perhaps? You’re going to have enrollments and then closed, or you’re going to have an ever green funnel, ever green people can join at any point? What are you going to do to launch? Are you going to have webinars? Are they going to be live webinars or automated webinars? Are you going to show your face or are you going to just do the audio and hide behind your presentation? Are you going to do automated funnels where you have these email sequences, that they get a video and then another video, or an email where you share your story. And then in the next one, you tell them how you overcame your problem. And the next one you tell them, “Hey, I’ve got the perfect solution for you.”
Or are you going to do live consultation calls? Are you going to get people on the phone and do some old fashioned, either discovery calls as we do in coaching or more of a sales call to actually go, “Hey, let’s dig into your problem. Let’s find a solution. And then this is the programme that you should buy.” And that’s then the way you get your clients. Are you going to do a live launch, free challenge in your Facebook group where you engage, give incredible value and then sell people into programme?
In terms of delivering, so we talked the core, what you’re offering, we talked about how you’re marketing and selling those things, and then how are you going to deliver? So one-to-one or one to many? Is it one-to-one coaching, let’s say, or are you going to do group coaching with lots of people? Or again, individual coaching, or a course, or a membership? Is it virtual, or in person? Is it working alone?
I know I talked about being a solopreneur, a freelancer, but are you going to continue to work alone or you’re going to have a team? Are you going to outsource, which, I recommend, we all do in terms of admin and design work, and websites and so on, but are you just going to be outsourcing and still being the main business owner, deliverer of the service? Or do you foresee yourself having associates offering the service and working under your umbrella? Are you going to do the, train the trainer approach? Are you going to step back and become the CEO or the chairman when other people do the work? Or do you love your work, and you want to continue doing that?
So lots of questions there, and of course pricing. Pricing really comes into it. I think we’ll do a separate session on pricing specifically because that’s really core to how your business is going to make money, isn’t it? But a few ideas there, and you may already have lots of clarity. You may be already offering some or all of these different things, but it’s so easy, as we talked last week, to get distracted by shiny object syndrome. This guru’s saying, “We have to have a membership.” “Oh, that makes sense. I should do this, but shouldn’t, I do one-to-one first, and maybe I’ll do a course, but then I have to sell it to lots of people. Oh my gosh, I have to have all the course content ready, all the membership content ready before I launch.” That’s something we often fall for. But lots of questions, lots of models, that could potentially work. And as I said last week, that can and will work for you if you follow them.
So how are you going to decide what works for you? Now again, in the traditional model, if you Google, “How do you choose the right business model?” You’re going to get lots of very serious and important articles, very correct articles that are going to advise you on looking at the competitive landscape, your value proposition, the market potential, what’s the problem you’re solving. And those are things that I do in the Business Acceleration, I help you do as my clients, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. Because yes, there are all those very serious and important things to look at. However, what’s often neglected, what’s often disregarded, forgotten about, ignored is the other piece, which is, what’s going to fit for you? What’s going to work for you.
So what does that mean? Well, it means logistically, obviously we’ve seen in the past month, in the past year with homeschooling, with kids at home, having to work from home and so on, it needs to work from that perspective. So you need to have the flexibility to be able to deliver online virtually, as well as offline, for example. You need to be able to work around a young family perhaps, if you have children at home. Those are some of the practical, logistical concerns. One aspect.
Another piece by the way, is what are you good at? What are your strengths, your personality strengths, your hard skills, your soft skills?
What’s really going to play to those strengths? And ultimately that means you’re going to enjoy it more. So what do you enjoy as well? That’s a two-way street and ultimately you’re going to get better results as well. So think of your [inaudible 00:09:27] guy that I’ve talked about many times, it’s a magical place where you’re doing work, that you love doing, that you’re really, really good at, that the world needs, so that’s the market potential and the value proposition and so on, and that also makes you money.
That’s the magic spot. The reason for jumping out of bed in the morning, as the concept comes from Japan. You may have seen that graphic float around the internet, but really important to design this business around your [inaudible 00:09:54] guy and play to your strengths, play to your passions. So, that it’s something that you enjoy, that you’re good at, and ultimately you’re going to stick with, to get the results that you want.
So, for example, I think I mentioned this last week already, but if you think you want to be doing this live launch strategy, really intense every month, you do a five day challenge, you’re on, on, on every day for an hour, an hour and a half, you’re live. You’re bouncing back and forth with people. If you’re quite reserved and introverted, if you don’t like going live. I mean, if it’s just a little bump and you need to get over it, then I think, by all means, get out of your comfort zone and learn how to go live. It’s a very powerful tool, but that doesn’t mean that you have to make this a central part of your launching strategy. So if you don’t feel comfortable going live, then that’s probably not the right thing for you.
If you hate the really sleazy, if you think they’re sleazy sales funnels that are automated and so on, that are so obvious so manipulate, I suppose in some cases, then that’s probably not going to be the right thing for you either. So what do you like? What fits with your style? What fits with your values? As well as working with your strengths, your preferences, your logistical needs and so on. Do you like working really in-depth with one person for a long period of time? In which case you might just have, look, I’m just going to have five slots, 10 slots for a year to work high-end with one-to-one clients, and I’m going to be there every step of the way I’m going to really, over-deliver, be an incredible resource for them and I’m going to charge accordingly. Great, that’s a sustainable, viable business.
Or no, I love, I want to make a really big impact on lots of people and I’m going to broaden, spread myself out. So I’m going to have courses with hundreds of people in them or group programmes that I want to reach as many people as possible, probably it will need to be priced at a lower level initially, at least. And then we’ll have lots more people in there. So in terms of how we deliver it, do we want to do again, we probably need to do both virtual and offline, both in-person and online, but are we enjoying the virtual world? Maybe we’re a little bit Zoomed out now after these last few months and the year that’s gone, but do we love going and travelling to different places and meeting people? Or again, does that drain us? And we prefer to be a bit more reserved, a bit more intimate perhaps, either online or in a one-to-one small group setting.
we like showing up every week, every month because that’s what a membership requires. We need to come up with content all the time. We need to be responsive to the needs of our clients and members. They’ll be giving us feedback. If we want to retain them and give them value, we need to keep showing up. A new training every month, new content, keep optimising, give them the accountability, implementation support they need, help them out. Show up every day. Now I know people who don’t want to do that. I gave a few examples last week. So let’s look at those.
So I talked about Rebecca Tracy, who does Uncage Your Business. I believe her programme is called and apologies Rebecca, if you’ve changed this. But I remember years ago when I was following her, she talked about how she didn’t want to have an ongoing membership because she was travelling I believe, in a caravan, she was hiking. She was off with her dog and she wanted to have several months off during the year. Fantastic, great, really clear vision for the business and lifestyle, but that meant she didn’t want to have an ongoing membership. It was just her. And so she does a launch once a year, or twice a year. And then she does the cohort model as it’s called, and then she’ll take a break, and then she’ll come back. That gives some scarcity and urgency because, it’s only been once or twice a year. And, she can then work through in a structured way with those clients. They’ll work, go through the material together. And now she’ll have some time off.
I talked to my Rose Radford I believe last week, someone I’d just came across in the last few weeks on Instagram, former McKinsey consultant. She really is pushing at least at the moment in her messaging, the ever green model. Why should you leave money on the table? Why only bring people in when you’re launching? Why not have that ever green model, have it automated and have people coming to you all the time? There’s great merit in that too, but there’s preferences for this. In fact, I went for a walk with the lovely Penny, one of my coach friends the other day. And she was talking about how actually, she realised she’d been trying to do too many things.
Because of the pandemic, she had to take a step back, she had to simplify it and guess what? Surprise, surprise. It made her business flourish because she simplified down to the things that really mattered, that fit with her preferences and that work for her. So she’s now focusing on LinkedIn where, that’s her zone of genius, that’s what she knows incredibly effective there. She’s doing her thing. Her business is thriving and she’s taken her foot off the gas, maybe on some of the other channels, Instagram and so on where actually she wasn’t feeling it. She wasn’t loving it. And it wasn’t necessarily getting the results that you’re supposed to be getting doing all these reels and, and graphics and everything.
So it can be in terms of how you launch ever green versus one off launches and so on, or where you’re showing up. “I hate Facebook.” Well, don’t go on Facebook because if you’re going to be successful on Facebook, you need to show up there consistently. You need to have a presence there. So if you hate it as a user, please don’t build your business on marketing on Facebook. Super simple, but quite difficult questions to ask yourself.
I did an interview with Jeremy Bement a few weeks ago. If you check out on YouTube, or on the blog, you’ll find it was Building a Sustainable Business. He’s the founder of co-founder of Nudge. Successful business, but as he shared with me, he hasn’t necessarily reaped the benefits of the lifestyle side of the business. Because he made the choice of having this incredible solution, a service they’re offering, and it’s intended to build and grow and create wealth rather than capital for the long term, assets, build a real business as it were. Rather than, Oh, I want to have more time for my family. I want to be able to travel and take three months off and so on.
So there’s a difference between the lifestyle business, a freedom business as it were, and a more traditional business. Do you want to work less? Are you happy working the same or more as you were in a full-time job? Same, do you want a co-founder or not? Because that has implications. It means you’re not alone, but it means you’re beholden someone else. You won’t have the same autonomy. You’re dependent on them pulling their weight and so on. So really thinking about very carefully about the business you want, the preferences, again, down to the very detailed logistical, practical parameters, how you want to run your business. And your personality, your strengths, what’s going to work for you?
So lots of different ideas there, you might want to listen again, just to have a think about the different models that are out there. Of course, by all means research them, we can chat about what could work, what they involve and so on. But if you are feeling pulled in one direction, it’s just not quite right for you. Then again, take a step back, ask yourself some of these questions about your [inaudible 00:16:22] guy, about what’s going to really work for you, what you will enjoy. And then make an informed decision, choose that strategy and go with it full throttle.
And again, as I said last week, that is going to get you the results if you stick with it. But it’s important to make that right choice from the beginning to define success for you, big picture, life and business, but also specifically, what are you trying to achieve? What is it you want to do with your marketing? You can see how those choices of launching versus having ever green, they have big effects on the way you can live your life. You can’t take three months off if, you’re supposed to be there delivering your calls. If you’ve got maternity leave, paternity leave, you’re going to have to leave maybe.
If you’ve got lots and lots of one-to-one calls let’s say, you probably can’t work with those clients while you’re off. So what are you going to do? Are you going to hand them over to someone else? Are you going to bring in other experts? Are you going to give them prerecorded content? Is it more of that hands off course model you want to go for? And probably let’s be honest. The answer is going to be a mix of a few of these different things. But really important questions to ask yourself around what is the right business model for you? And remember business model, we’re just talking about how are you going to generate money?
So what are you going to create, build, teach?
Product service. What does that look like? How are you going to market it, sell it to prospects, to prospective clients? And ultimately, how are you going to deliver the service as well? Lots of questions around online, offline, in person, one-to-one, one to many, always on, ups and downs, short, long, intense, high level, superficial, preferably not superficial, but you can see the difference between a short course with someone and then you move on. Or again, you do that in depth programme with somebody where you can really work really closely with them.
If you know you’re the kind of person who wants to get your hands dirty and work really close with someone and give them an incredible transformation, then that’s a very different model to just having a more passive course where people learn a few frameworks and then you leave them to it. So really think about what success looks like for you. What are your preferences and your strengths? What’s your zone of genius? And remember the key question, what are you going to actually stick with over the coming weeks, months, and even years in order to make this a success?
Thanks so much for listening. I hope that was interesting. Of course, delving more into this topic of choosing the right business model. And if you’re not sure where to go for you, then do go ahead and book a call with me, onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation. That’s, onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation. We’ll have a chat about where you are in your business, what’s working for you, what isn’t and how we can go about refining and optimising that business model to get you on the right track for your definition of success.
Thank you for listening, and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5