For those of you who have been following me and my blog for a while you know I try to provide actionable tips based on real world examples with a focus on Sales. I try to sprinkle in motivation and lessons learned from my experiences in life and in business. In this post I wanted to share with you my journey towards building a sustainable business model as a solo consultant.
The Name of The Game
I knew early in my career that recurring revenue was the name of the game. If you could get paid monthly for a product or product-based service then you could build a scalable business with predictable growth. We started our first company, Thrive Networks, based on the idea of recurring revenue and ultimately got acquired because of the strength in that model. Now, as a solo consultant whose main offering is delivering onsite sales training, I knew I couldn’t scale or create any type of recurring revenue without taking a different approach. I also knew I could only add so much value to my clients as a one man show. The value question is what always drives me. I truly believe that if you add enough value, the money will eventually come. With this in mind, I built my online portal with all of my training in video format to be accessed by my clients — mostly teams in growing companies — whenever they needed.
The Filling The Funnel Portal
My portal was doing well with corporate clients but it still wasn’t creating the recurring revenue I was looking for. I decided to take a chance and go downstream to try and get individuals to pay for premium content. I would allow individuals to access the same training I offer to the world’s top companies like Salesforce.com and Box, but at a much more reasonable cost. I invested heavily in updating my portal for individual users, included new content, and rebranded with a new website, landing pages, and e-commerce integration. Individuals could now buy a single license for a fixed, upfront fee or could spread the cost over 12 months. This was my attempt at manufacturing recurring revenue.
The problem was that my portal is a “consumable.” People got a ton of value from the training initially, but once it was completed, there was no reason to go back other than for a refresher. This is when it hit me: without recurring value you can’t create recurring revenue. I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things aren’t that obvious when you’re in the middle of them.
As I sat down to review the numbers for 2016 and to plan for 2017 I realized two things: I needed to add recurring value and focus on passive revenue.
Adding Recurring Value is Key
First, I need to find a way to add recurring value if I want to create recurring revenue. I’ll be trying a lot of different things in 2017 to create and understand recurring value with my audience, both with individuals and with corporations. To start, we’re going kick off “Make it Happen Mondays” on Facebook Live in February where I’ll be answering whatever questions you have about sales or life.
Add Passive Revenue, Too
Second, I realized that there is a big difference between recurring revenue and passive revenue. This was a wakeup call for me. I was so focused on recurring revenue that I disregarded the value of passive revenue. Any revenue that didn’t entail me being physically present or on a plane was great whether it was recurring or not.
The 2017 Approach (For Now)
With these realizations, my approach for 2017 became clear. I’m now focusing on companies with five or more sales reps who don’t have the budget for onsite training, but need to get their team trained on prospecting.
I hate to try and push product in my blog posts, but I wanted to share my thought processes. The more I can drive passive revenue, the more time I can spend developing and sharing new content. The higher quality and more frequent the content, the more value I’m creating and the more I can help all of us get better. That’s what this is all about. Like I said, adding value drives me.
If you know of anyone who is on a team or who runs a team that needs help with prospecting, I would appreciate it if you could help me get the word out about my services and portal. In return, I promise I’ll keep trying to put out actionable content that makes a difference.
The Big Takeaway
Never stop evolving or trying new things. Make sure you set big, aggressive, SMART goals and do everything you can to achieve them. If you do things for the right reasons and fail, get up and try again.
Let’s make it happen together in 2017!