It’s arguably easier to become a professional service provider compared to starting a manufacturing, or product based business, because providing expert services requires far less upfront cost.
There is no factory to build, product to make or shop to open.
Many quickly discover however, that even though it may be easier to get started in professional services like coaching, consulting, selling or being an agent, creating an income by exchanging your time for money is not as easily sustainable as selling products.
Once a manufacturing plant is up and running, or you’ve source a product, you focus on fulfilling orders.
Product sellers make money while they sleep, but service providers have a constant battle with time.
An experts day is full of trying to balance taking care of existing clients, while trying to attract more new ones.
Provide services while at the same time promoting your services and attempting to attract an ongoing stream of income from new and repeat customers is exhausting and certainly not sustainable long term.
Building an income generating platform from your personal brand is one way to deal with this, so you can make money from your expertise, without even having to be there...
When professional service providers work out that simply providing a service is not sustainable for income generating, most begin to develop resources, using multiple channels, selling books and programs. But these are often seen as separate ‘add ons’ rather than forming an entire brand platform.
Most marketing experts will suggest you create a funnel for each product/packaged service…which is sort of ideal, but can take a long time to create and set up, you still have too drive traffic to it and let’s face it…building funnels is boring!
Yes, lead generation is vital, you need to build a database and funnels do work, but it’s only part of the process, a small aspect of the platform you can create. Think of a funnel as just a mechanism that drives people closer to buying from you. But they are only one part of your personal brand platform.
You need to give people a reason to enter a funnel and buy from you in the first place.
Most turn to paid advertising or constantly pushing organic content. But without a platform, this sort of activity is hit-and-miss, and not sustainable.
A platform can help you know for sure what sort of offered, content, resources, programs and packaged services are going to work, and it can create an ‘umbrella brand’ for you to extend into all sorts of income generating ideas.
So let’s take a look at three successful personal brand platforms to give you a better idea of how you can create multiple streams of sustainable income from your expertise.
Tony Robbins wasn't born successful, he had to start somewhere…he was a part time janitor when he attended a Jim Rohn seminar as a teenager. He was hooked by Jims presentation and at just 17yrs old he got a job promoting Jim Rohn seminars.
He went on to upskill, getting qualifications in NLP and discovering fire walking but had no formal education, which just goes to show that you don’t need to be academic to achieve success.
He published is first book, Unlimited Power in 1986, launching a self help program, Personal Power in 1988 off the back of his book sales and in 1991 published his follow up book Awaken the Giant Within, clearly leveraging his large stature.
In 1997 he Launched the Leadership Academy seminar, presenting at live events, using his stage presence and persona to amass a large following.
Tony has since gone on to be part of over 30 Businesses from asteroid mining to credit cards, hospitality, nutritional supplements, private equity, sports teams, 3-D printed prosthetics, and, most recently, wealth management.
“The power of positive thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself when nothing in the environment supports you.” - Tony Robbins
A smart cookie, Marie graduated as valedictorian from Seton Hall University with a degree in business finance in 1997 and went on to land her dream job, worked on NY Stock exchange.
Except it turned out that it wasn’t her dream job. Noticing how unfulfilled her co-workers were, she decided she didn’t want to end up like them.
So she left to work in the magazine publishing industry, but again found it didn’t provide her with a love of what she was doing.
She gave up on corporate life and became a bartender and dance instructor before discovering the world of Life Coaching, completing a 3 year program and launched Marie Forleo International in 2009, founding BSchool the same year.
She is now worth over $40Million and is friends with the likes of Oprah, and Tony Robbins, and is frequently interviewed on star studded podcasts, webinars and stages.
"The secret to finding your passion is to bring it to everything you do" - Marie Forleo
Russell grew up in Utah and as a kid had a weird hobby of collecting junk mail. He totally loved commercials and was hooked on how they converted people to buy stuff.
Russell was also athletic and got to college via wrestling scholarship, again proving that you don’t need to have qualifications in an industry in order to become a leading expert.
What he did learn though, was the science of Magnetic Marketing from Dan Kennedy and there was no looking back from there.
Russell had already ‘played around’ with creating sales pages and funnels, making a million dollars in his first year after finishing college.
In 2014 Co-founded Click Funnels based on the difficulties he faced as an online marketer, making it easier to set up funnels much faster.
This software as a service is now worth over $360 Million. Russell also become a New York Times bestselling author through selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his books.
"There are people today that need what you have. They are waiting for you to find your voice so you can help them change their lives" - Russell Brunson
So What did they have in common?
It wasn’t brilliance. These stand out leaders are clever and smart but they proved that you don’t need a degree, years of experience in an industry or stack of credentials to be successful.
They may not have even known what they wanted to be when they grew up, but they all knew what they stood for and they built their brand around that core message:
Tony - Unleash the power within,
Marie - Create a business and life you love,
Russell - Funnel Hacking.
All of them focus on changing lives. They found the WIIFM - What’s in it for me?
- They found a problem, knew their audience and gave them what they wanted, Tony - Personal Development, Marie - Women wanting success, Russell - Digital Entrepreneurs.
- They also consistently create engaging, quality content, are constantly generating leads, focused on developed a following and building a community.
- They built personal brands that generated WOM and they leveraged their client testimonials, case studies and referrals to create a ripple effect that keeps delivering interest and enquiry in what they are doing.
Most importantly they all built a personal brand platform, with multiple streams of income, using a channel they were most comfortable with:
- Tony Robbins via Live Events, using what he learned from Jim Rohn to create a self development brand, Personal Power, and leveraging his large stature with a Giant range of products.
- Marie Forleo via YouTube, MarieTV creating a "Multi-passionate Entrepreneur” approach with regular shows each Tuesday that tapped into her ideal clients needs, wants and desires.
- Russell Brunson via books, as the new kid on the block he leveraged his geeky love of direct response advertising to become a young serial entrepreneur, sharing how he did it, so others could follow.
And they created multiple products they could brand as an extension of themselves, like having an umbrella overarching everything they do, so they can continually add and launch income generating streams:
- Tony: UPW Program - CD & DVD boxed sets (remember those?) online events and coaching programs
- Marie: BSchool - online training, added Copy Cure Copywriting program and books
- Russell: Click Funnels - SAAS and now masterclasses, challenges, trainings & live events
They also built their profile early on, with self confidence and knowledge that they had something to offer the world.
At 15 years old Tony Robbins failed to make the baseball team so he printed up business cards proclaiming himself a sports journalist. By the 10th grade, he had wooed a who's-who from the sports world to let him interview them for the local newspaper.
Marie says she wasted so much time trying to figure out how to explain what she did, instead of just doing it…and even then she was inconsistently communicating with her following. Until she made a decision and chose Tuesday for Marie TV and stuck to it, creating regular episodes that gathered a following.
Russell was a competitive wrestler at school, but in his spare time he launched online businesses, his most famous selling a Potato Gun Making Kit. Russell sold everything online from shakes and supplements to coaching, books, coupons, t-shirts, technology services and software. He even reached top ranking status in several network marketing companies, once winning a Ferrari and generated 1.5 million leads in just six weeks.
So How Do I Do It?
The common traits with leaders like this are that they all had the balls to do it - confidence and self belief. They chose an idea and stuck to it, created a following and built a database.
They also varied their activities, with the same theme - live, online, webinar, TV, podcast, books, speaking…but that umbrella brand meant that everything they launched to their audience made sense.
So what are the personal brand platform basics you need to get started and create multiple streams of income from your expertise?
1) Build Your Personal brand
Firstly you need to know what you want to stand for, who your audience is and what the problem is that you provide the solution for. You need to package together all of your natural talents, skills and expertise into a stand out core message. You may want to read the article about the 3Rs of personal branding or Finding Your True North to help you with this.
2) A Website
Nothing fancy, just a simple, straightforward site, it can even be just one page - as long as the website is focused on conversion - booking a call, making an enquiry, purchasing a program or product.…
Your website also needs to load fast and work on a mobile and you need to own it and be able to keep it updated, and easily add content (blogging or vlogging) which is why WordPress is so popular.
To get started, first create a Web Map - a one page diagram of the site with content bullet points and navigation outlined - then source the images, write the content and provide examples or a layout for someone to create your website for you.
3) A Lead Generator
There is no such thing as the perfect lead gen, but you can get close by crating something truely desirable, something worthy of exchanging an email address for…
What is the biggest thing your target audience wants right now?
Consider where they are at, their pain points, burning desire/need, feelings and emotions as well as physical situation. What quick fix can you provide that they believe will help them overcome something they are sick of. It could be a cheatsheet, checklist, planner or tracker.
It can be a PDF download, video lesson or even a quiz. Draw up a list of pain pints and immediate solutions you could create, then create a landing page and test a few ideas out to find the one that converts the best.
4) Shopping cart
You need to be able to get paid for all of the range of products and services you provide. Paypal is pretty global and our favourite is Stripe. If you are selling your time as a consultant, set up something like Acuity which can take payments for appointments. Shopping carts are getting easier to create, with upsell and downhill automated add ons…why sell one book when you can sell a special price package?
When someone books an appointment, why not get them reading your workbook before the meeting?
Thrivecart is one we like as it has so many templates and makes automating easy.
5) A Channel
Now it’s time to generate some traffic to your brand platform. Choose which channel is going to work best for you. Go with your core strengths. If you don’t mind being on camera and you present well, go with a YouTube Channel and do lots of FB Live videos. If it’s audio, start a podcast and get into Clubhouse. prefer writing, books, blogs and writing articles to appear on others websites is ideal for you.
Whatever you choose, start and stick to it, choose a day and make sure you are consistent. You may wish to set a schedule or plan your content to help you avoid overwhelm and have a system for your content marketing.
The Most Audacious Action Planner can help.
6) Marketing & Promotion
Map out the sales journey for your client, so you know the touch-points and what they are going through at what time. This way you can deliver them with engaging and relevant content to help them along the journey to becoming one of your raving fans. Ideally this takes the shape of an auto responding email series. remember to keep your emails short, to the point and engaging.
Tell stories, share case studies and be friendly. Don’t make every email a sales pitch. Make sure you give them plenty of opportunity to have a chat with you so you can find out more about their specific needs wants and desires.
Yes you need to create some scarcity as the leader in your space, but you also need to be approachable and human.
7) Members Area
Once someone becomes a client, you need to make them feel right at home. Having a members area that they can access lots of support, be part of a community and feel they are being looked after is vital if you a want long-term, sustainable base of clients. Remember, it is far more difficult to get a new client than it is to sell another product or service to an existing client. So take good care of them. This is all about relationship building and providing valuable content - a members portal/area is where you can have the most income from your personal brand too.
This could be as basic as an invite only Facebook group like Rocket Launch Your Business, but ideally you have an area where paid members have to login and they get access to a wider range of content, resources and support than non-paying prospects.
One Solution To Rule Them All?
Ideally you have just one software that provides the entire backend for your personal brand platform. This will make the business easier to manage and keep updated.
You need to integrate where you can, but one tool we love and have used for years because it combines it all and makes it easier is Thrive Themes.
Based out of Europe, Thrive provides everything you undergone membership gives you all the tools and training you need to start and grow your platform:
- Thrive Architect - drag and drop webpage builder with a stack of nifty add-ons
- Thrive Landing Pages - over 200 fill-in templates, 100% customisable
Thrive Optimise - A simple was to AB test your pages
Thrive Shapeshifter - conversion focused theme builder to make your website rock
- Thrive Leads - Imagine it and you can create lead generators with drag & drop
Thrive Quiz Builder - Engage your prospects and turn them into potential clients
Thrive Ultimatum - Create scarcity with customisable countdown timers
- Thrive Ovation - Collect and display stunning testimonials specific to each web page
- Thrive Widgets - cool and clever sidebars to help your visitors interact with you
- Thrive Optimiser - Simple and easy way to test your headlines and automatically display the best one
- Thrive Apprentice - Membership area to share your resources, training and online programs with clients
- Thrive Comments - Incentivise engagement with likes, upvotes and commentary
Additional to all this, there are a stack of training videos in Thrive University and the Thrive team are constantly upgrading and adding services in one membership fee of just $19 per month.
Yes you read that right, it is not a misprint… Thrive, at $228 per year, works out to be one of the most economical and affordable solutions if you want to create a personal brand platform that pays you for your expertise.
Click Here to check it out.