Ah, those dreams of being able to monetize your passion…
You’ve been working away on your project for a while now, haven’t you? Maybe you’ve switched projects a few times. You’ve tried a few things and it’s not quite brought in the cash you would have liked so maybe you’ve gone back to the drawing board. It’s got to the point where it’s all a bit of a muddle. You’re frustrated that you’re not making more money despite the huge amounts of effort you’ve put in. It even makes you want to give up at times.
If this resonates with you, then you’re not alone–and there is something you can do about it.
The Illusive Piece Of The Puzzle
Having coached individuals to rock their revenue for a few good years now, there are some patterns that crop up again and again, and here is what I can tell you for certain: You’re not the only one who is struggling to monetize their project.
The truth is, making cash out of your activities is the most difficult piece of the puzzle… if you don’t set it up right from the beginning. I’ve seen dozens of highly skilled, talented and driven individuals set up some awesome businesses: projects that could change the world.
They start with great ideas and they put in place awesome delivery systems, but getting the damn thing to cash flow can sometimes feel like trying to get blood out of a stone. If you can relate to this you need to know: the root of this problem, and the solution, starts way before you launch your product or service.
If you understand what I’m about to outline, you will be able to position your business so that the monetization phase becomes the EASIEST part of the whole project.
The biggest problem you face is actually that monetization is the last thing that happens in the whole creation cycle. All the work has to be done upfront though. And even if you have cash, all of this needs to happen without even a minimal reward to spur you on.
It’s not that it is impossible, but it can be tough, and managing your own expectations from the start is key. There is a way to make all this MUCH easier.
Start with Your Day-to-Day Love
Every business becomes easier to get to (and through) the monetization phase successfully if day in and day out you’re doing something that you love. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing and not just doing it for the money then it becomes easier to go that extra mile to put in a few more hours, to influence one more person, to get up and dust yourself off and press on when the going gets tough.
In fact, if you love what you do every day, you’ll find very quickly that going to work on that project actually gives you energy. That’s right! You end up with more energy at the end of the day than when you started. Getting up and getting on with the tasks of the day becomes effortless because you’re aligned with what you naturally want to be spending your day doing. So you can see that monetising your passion is much easier to do than monetising any old business or side project.
This is a very important point, because it shapes everything that comes after it. This is where much of the pain and frustration has stemmed from already, because if you’re struggling to get to the point of it “working” (i.e. making a profit) it probably has something to do with you not being fully aligned with what you love to do. I mean this in both the conceptual sense, and in the day to day workings of what you do.
When I work with clients we start with defining very clearly what they love to do and where their natural skills are, then align it with producing a business that delivers what the market wants. This is the step almost everyone misses out even if they’re passionate about the concept they are trying to deliver.
Concepts don’t get you to go the extra mile when you’re tired and you’ve suffered an intermediate defeat. Loving the day-to-day of what you do does.
Monetization: The Final Phase
When it comes to needing cash flow from your efforts you need to take lag time into account. Depending on how much ground work there is, being able to monetize your effort will vary from several weeks to several months. Heck, I’ve invested in companies that, three years down the line, aren’t paying dividends because they need to reinvest the profits into mega expansion.
The point is, you need to take this into account, whatever size you’re planning to grow the business to. You can’t start pulling an idea together and monetize it in a few days. Monetization is the *final* phase of a project. But here is how to short-cut it and stack the odds of success in your favor–BIG TIME.
1. Be Clear On Your Passion
Contrary to popular belief, your passion is what you want to spend your time doing and not some random vision written on a blackboard in the sky that you somehow need to “discover”. Ask yourself what you love doing day in day out, because ultimately this is your passion.
2. Align Your Passion With What You Are Good At
Most people skip these two most important parts of the process, thinking it will get them to the money quicker. They think that there is more money to be made in another business, and that the grass is always greener. If you pick your industry based only on how much money you think you can make, then you can expect to always be chasing the money.
If you take the time to align these two aspects effectively (your day-to-day passion and your skills) you will flat out make the rest of the process much easier.
3. Find A Market You Want To Work With and work out what their biggest pain is.
Again, most people do this the wrong way. They think “who is most likely to pay me money”, and even if they aren’t in the market they want to work with, they push on anyway. This again is the road to pain and struggle.
4. Tailor What You Offer (your passion, product or service) to the avatar of the people you most want to work with.
In other words, think of a character that represents the people you want to work with (your avatar) and design your offering for just that person. Give them a name, and describe every detail of their pain, their fears, their hopes, their current situation… down to even the more tangible aspects of their lives like where they shop and their educational backgrounds. This will allow you to hone what you have to offer precisely to what they want, and this will form the basis of your marketing messaging when you talk to them.
At this point, even early on in the process, you’re making it easy for them to buy.
5. Work A Marketing Plan
What I mean by this is simply create a plan around how you are going to connect with them.
Note: Facebook is not a marketing plan! Even those marketers who are rocking it on Facebook only get about 20% of their sales from it. If you’re in the online world you need an email list. Period.
Create database of people you can email (or snail mail) and build up a relationship with them. This is your audience. These are the people who are an ideal fit for your product or service and are interested in hearing your message. Make sure you have an easy way to be in touch with them so that you can communicate about your product or service before it’s even ready. Part of this plan will then be to build a relationship with your audience, getting them involved in developing the product (or service), then communicate what is available and make it really easy for them to buy.
You Can Do It The Easy Way
What we’ve talked about are the first, most vital steps in creating cash from what you love to do, because they set the tone of everything else that comes later. The sales, marketing and positioning come much more easily once you’ve got the first few items figured out. In fact, monetising is just a process, one you’ve worked out what you want to spend your time doing, what your natural skills are and who you want to work with.
Remember lots of work goes in before you get anywhere near to being able to monetize. If you align with what you love to do every day, your natural skills AND the market you want to serve you will massively increase your chances of monetising your project effectively in the shortest possible time.
What Are You Going To Do About It?
Never leave the scene of learning something new without taking a new action. It’s time for you to declare which action step you’re going to put some attention onto and why. Share in the comments below.
Name one sharing service that’s catching a buzz among your fellow business owners for making life easier: Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Noteworthy Businesses Monetizing the Shared Economy
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