I spent last weekend at a marketing conference.
Speaker after speaker took the stage, talking about multi-multi millions. Multi-million dollar businesses. Multi-million dollar strategies. Multi-million dollar blueprints.
(If I had a dollar for every time the word “million” was uttered, I’d be well on my way there!)
One even went so far as to ask the audience: who wants a BILLION dollar business?
I was pretty quick to respond to that. Not me!
I don’t want multi-millions of dollars and neither do most of my clients. Here’s why.
On Tuesday I had a conversation with a business coach whose smallest clients have 3 million dollar businesses.
A 3 million dollar business is a small business. It takes a machine to run that business. It takes money to feed the machine. The owner is lucky to walk away with $150K per year.
In a few sentences she clarified my thoughts. My response:
My ideal clients don’t want the machine! They just want the $150K. (Or $65K or $250K – whatever the right number is for them.)
They want to DO the thing they do. They don’t want to trade their hands-on coaching, consulting, designing or wellness practice for a new job of managing “the machine” with the overhead, stress and non-stop marketing that comes with it.
Are they really on their own? Or do they have a machine?
Is there a famous “celebrity” in your business that you admire/follow?
They may appear to be on their own. Their name is their brand. But take a close look.
They have a machine and they’re paying for it.
A good chunk of their revenue is going to:
- Technical systems and services. Their fancy automated email marketing system may have cost 2 grand to set up and another $300 a month in rent. (Not including paying someone to actually run the system.)
- Production costs. Those high quality video web TV shows are not made in front of a simple web cam. Nicely polished e-book or presentation slides? That stuff costs money.
- Staff. To answer email, provide customer service, organize events, run marketing campaigns and more.
- Marketing expenses. You SEE these people EVERYWHERE. Why? Because they’re PAYING for advertising. (And copywriting and graphic design.)
I don’t say this to discourage you if that’s what you want. Only to point out something that I think is often overlooked.
You may be able to take home the same amount of money by staying small
You can make $100,000 per year working directly with clients, with very little overhead.
Or you can make $250,000 per year with $150,000 in “machine costs” and have the same amount of money left in your jeans at the end of the year.
There are plenty of small, well-fed solo-practitioners out there.
What really matters is what you want to DO
Do you want to spend your time doing your thing?
Or do you want to be the CEO of a small business and manage the machine?
These are 2 very different goals. There’s no wrong answer. Just make sure the advice you’re buying into matches what you really want.