Welcome back! This is part 3 of a series about the big mistakes business owners (and especially solopreneurs) make that keeps you on the treadmill of under-earning and over-working, which I call The 5 Big Mistakes that Keep You Earning Less than You Deserve. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely because something inside you is calling you to do something bigger with your life. There’s a part of you that knows you’re meant to be more and receive more than your current circumstances, whatever they may be. And part of that is having the confidence and the systems that allow you to build a thriving business so you can do the work that is yours to do and serve the people who you’re uniquely qualified to serve.
But, you can’t build a thriving business that serves your clients in the highest way if you’re struggling, working your fingers to the bone or have inadvertently created another J-O-B for yourself that you resent.
In my previous post, I debunked the myth that says if you increase your fees, you’ll lose clients or not get any to begin with. I addressed just about every possible concern or excuse you could have to not charge what you know you’re worth. If you haven’t read that post yet, please read it. It contains critical mindset shifts that will allow you to finally push past your fears and confidently stand in the value you provide, charge for it and get it.
Now we’re going to jump into debunking one of the big marketing strategies that keeps so many business owners struggling financially.
The big marketing mistake that keeps you earning less than you deserve is:
Following a “bottom up” strategy of using cheap products and services and tons of free content to get clients.
I want to poke a big hole in a pervasive marketing theory, which goes something like this:
Load your prospects up with a bunch of free information and low-cost trainings or products and they’ll magically want to buy more from you and eventually these people will purchase your high-end offerings (assuming you have some), which is when you finally start to make some real money (and earn what you deserve). Sound familiar?
That is one way to do it… and definitely the HARD, slow and super stressful way to build a business!
When you’re starting off in business, you have to wear so many different hats: owner, service provider, content creator, marketer, sales team, client care provider, tech expert, social media guru and more. If you spend a lot of time creating free content or online programs you sell for $299, you’re going to struggle to make it. Absent a generous marketing budget, it's difficult for you to get the quantity of buyers you need to generate any significant amount of revenue at that kind of price point.
If this is your primary marketing strategy, I sure hope you’ve got a huge savings account to live off of until hundreds of sales start rolling in!
In addition, here’s something that you might now have considered and may seem counterintuitive:
More free information and low-cost help won’t solve your clients’ problems.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you’re supposed to give away a lot of great content in order to attract clients.
It is a marketing method that can work given enough time… but only within the context of an overall paid-program offering strategy in which higher-end programs play a critical part.
I don’t know about you, but I need money to pay my bills! If I spent most of my time and energy creating and marketing free content and really low-cost programs, I’d be stressed out, feel overwhelmed, resent my business and not be able to give my very best to my clients or pour my best into my trainings… not to mention I certainly wouldn’t have the kind of lifestyle I want! And that would certainly limit my ability to truly help my clients, wouldn’t it?
That’s the problem with most of what you read about free-content-based marketing strategies that many “marketing gurus” swear is the key to success and riches. They’re not giving you the whole story.
Education Based Marketing ain’t the whole enchilada. It’s only ONE ingredient, so don’t bet your business on that alone. Plus, free information and low-cost resources don’t effectively solve most people’s problems.
Think about it. If they did, then...
- People wouldn’t be overweight and we’d all eat the healthiest foods.
- No one would be broke because we’d all manage our money well.
- No one would want to smoke and it would be easy to quit if you did.
- Most marital relationships would be harmonious and there wouldn’t be a 50% divorce rate in the US.
- You’d always ace your interviews and get exactly the job you wanted because you’d have an incredible resume and stellar interpersonal skills.
- We’d all trust our own intuition and feel connected to spirit every day.
- Every business would be thriving by attracting its ideal clients and creating programs and products that make a real difference.
- Everyone would know what their passion and life purpose is and would be making a killing pursuing it.
- No one would doubt their own worth, every business owner would feel fully confident in the value of what they provide and no one would be content with playing small.
I could go on and on. The reality is…
The world isn’t short on “helpful information”. We’re DROWNING in it! And it’s totally overwhelming.
What’s really lacking are true change-making resources like programs that lead people through a highly effective, systemized transformation process with strong support and accountability structures in place.
That’s what gets clients real results: systems, support and accountability. Without these, 99% of the time people will stay stuck where they are.
People who are motivated to find solutions to their problems often spend weeks, months or even years researching, reading the “best” information… and then they get totally bogged down by all of that great information and do nothing. They feel paralyzed by conflicting advice – or too much of the same advice – and stay stuck in their problems.
It can often be that they have all of the information to make a change, but they are lacking the HOW and the SUPPORT systems to make it happen. They don’t know how to effectively apply everything they’ve learned or fall back into old habits because they don’t have someone showing them the way and holding their feet to the fire.
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Think back to a time when you’ve wanted to solve a problem you had. You probably hopped on Google and started reading all about how to fix it. How many hours or days or weeks did you spend reading and researching possible solutions instead of actually fixing the problem? Then, once you decided on “the” solution (if you managed to make a decision and not get stuck in analysis paralysis), how long did it take you to actually implement the solution? And, did you do it effectively?
Not only did pursuing a solution via free information cost you a lot of time and effort, it cost you in terms of lost opportunities and perhaps even cost you hard cash. If you’re trying to build your business 100% the DIY “free information” way, the additional time you spend because of it costs you real revenue that you otherwise would’ve had if you’d had the solution in place sooner or in a more effective way.
This applies to your clients as well. Think about someone who wants to lose weight. It’s not for lack of information – free or paid – that they’re still overweight and struggling with the health consequences of it. Most likely it’s because they didn’t consistently implement the knowledge.
If you want to help your clients get their desired results and serve them in the highest way, drowning them in a bunch of free information without offering them a structured program that supports them and holds them accountable to taking consistent action is simply ineffective.
Charging higher fees is an essential part of the accountability that empowers your clients to get results. If you’re giving away your expertise at low prices, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve noticed that your clients miss appointments, postpone doing the work or often have “conflicts” that cause them to fall behind.
Why? It’s simple human psychology. Your clients don’t have much skin in the game so they don’t feel an urgency to do the work. They can even brush off your entire low-cost program by justifying it with, “Eh. It didn't cost much. No big deal that I didn't use it” or “I’ll get around to it later.” That doesn’t serve you or your clients! This is the main reason why most people never even finish (and sometimes don’t even start) low-cost programs.
Think about your own life… I’m sure you’re guilty of buying a low-cost product, program or service and then you never even used it. I’m certainly guilty of it!
So, although providing some free or low-cost resources is a useful part of your overall marketing strategy, you’ll end up spending a lot of your time and effort creating things that in the end don’t help your clients very much… and certainly don’t create a lot of revenue for you.
If you find that YOU are still stuck with a problem you’ve tried to solve by weeks in front of the computer Googling for answers, it’s probably time to reevaluate your approach. Considering the immense amount it of money, time and lost opportunities staying stuck can cost you, paying to get the solution you need when you need it is often a wise investment. And, if you’re positioning your services correctly, your clients will think so, too.
Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from YOU!
What do you think about the “bottom up” marketing strategy of offering a ton of free info which leads to low-priced offers?
- If you’re using this strategy, how has it been working for you? What have you found that works and doesn’t work well?
- If you’re running low-cost programs, do you find that your clients regularly finish your programs and get the results they were looking for?
I’m always open to hearing other perspectives.
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Hi, I'm Christine Parma.
I help ambitious, service-based entrepreneurs who are working way too hard for what they’re earning. I guide them step-by-step through how to create and launch higher-fee programs, courses and retreats that sell out. Because they’re earning more money per client, they can stop struggling financially, cut back on the number of hours they work and finally have the life they want.
I believe that money and meaning are not exclusive. You can make a big impact and income doing what you love – and do it without the stress and overwhelm.
Subscribe to my newsletter to learn how to magnify your impact with your own signature programs, events and retreats, attract your following of Raving Fans and grow a profitable business you love.
Bigger Impact. Bigger Income.
Do you feel like you’ve been spinning your wheels trying to take your business to the next level?
Are you ready to move up from “making a living” to having an incredible, highly profitable, purpose-led business that serves your ideal clients in the highest way?
Imagine if all of the time, effort and money you put into your business finally paid off at the level you’ve been hoping for and you were working with dream clients making a generous income doing the work that matters the most to you!
The critical key to making the leap from a frustrating business to one that generates 6- and 7-figure income is having a system for turning what you know into programs that high-dollar clients happily enroll in.
Knowing how to create these kinds of programs the right way changes everything!
You can say goodbye to under-charging, under-earning and feeling under-appreciated…
You can say goodbye to not knowing what to create or how to package your expertise and wisdom into programs that create profound change… and sell…
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