Stop trading time for money

By Jill Chivers

I’ve met many an entrepreneur who has a great idea, even a great business, but are leaving a lot of money on the table by not making their offering available widely enough.

Let me give you an example. The details in this example are made up, but the basic situation is drawn from a number of clients I have worked with.

Agnes has a service based business, offering 1:1 sessions with clients on Living Your Dream.  She had a great idea for a business, and she worked hard to create a sustainable business that she still loves today.

She works with clients in her home based studio, and sometimes via Skype, to identify their Dream Life (that’s usually the first session or two). Then over a series of sessions after that, she helps them to put the pieces in place to make their Dream Life a reality.

She uses a range of creative tools in her sessions including guided visualisations, vision and dream boards, meditation, journaling, art therapy, sometimes dance and singing therapy, as well as traditional coaching processes.

She occasionally runs small group workshops, where she has 4 – 8 people together in a conference room for a day. She pretty much follows the same process as above, just all on one day and with a few people at a time rather than just one client.

Her clients love Agnes. They love the work they do with her. Their lives are better after they work with her. It’s all thumbs up, all the way.

The problem

The problem is Agnes is trading time for money. If she isn’t spending her time with her clients (either 1:1 or in her small group workshops), she isn’t making any money. If she takes a vacation or becomes unwell or needs to be elsewhere and away from her business, she isn’t making any money.

On top of that, her income is limited. There is only so much time she has available – once it’s used up she can’t make any more money.

The only way she can earn more money, using the business model and services she’s using now, is to increase her fees. Or possibly put someone else on to do some of the work (paying them less than she’s charging the client, so she picks up the bit in the middle).

So she’s kinda stuck. She’s doing great work, work she loves, and she knows she’s doing great work. But her income is stuck. She has the dual problems of she doesn’t earn any income if she isn’t working, and her income is capped because she’s trading time for money.

The solution

Create products that work when she isn’t, of course!

One of the huge advantages to offering products in addition to services (apart from the income advantage) is that your wonderful work is available to people who will never have the opportunity to work with you in person. Think of all those people who are geographically far from you who will have the pleasure and benefit of your work!

There are two kinds of products Agnes can develop – physical products and e products.

Physical products

Agnes could create a range of physical products including:

  • A hard copy workbook that guides people through a similar process to what she does, but they can do it themselves
  • A hard copy journal for writing and drawing in. She could have a series of activities or exercises people can do, using the journal
  • A recording on DVD or CD. This could include the meditation and guided meditation Agnes already does in her sessions, but people could do it themselves, whenever they wanted

This is not by any means an exhaustive list of physical products Agnes could create. But it’s a good start, and even if she created and offered only one of these, she would increase her income, and make her wonderful work available to people who will never have the opportunity to work with her in person.

E products

Agnes may also wish to develop and offer a range of electronic products that people can buy and access through her website. These include:

  • An e-workbook, like the one described above in Physical products, but as an electronic download. It wouldn’t be available as a physical workbook, but would only have a digital format – no inventory, no postage, no handling!
  • A recording available in a digital format such as MP3. This is the same as the recording described above but there’s no physical form (such as a CD or DVD) – the video or audio file only has a digital format
  • An e-course, where she offers a range of formats such as the e-workbook plus a recording in digital format, plus perhaps access to a private group on Facebook where classmates can share their experiences
  • A membership program. There are specialist software programs that make it relatively easy to set up a private membership program where people pay to belong (often for a specific time period such as for 6 months or a year) and they receive all kinds of products and benefits as part of their membership.

These are just a sampling of the kinds of e products Agnes could develop. Once these products were developed and available, Agnes would be able to reach a lot more people, and help a lot more people. And her income would multiply, and she wouldn’t have to trade her time to get it.

It’s a win win.