Month: April 2022

Bring your breakthrough ideas to life. Learn from successful innovators

In 2003 the Indian environmental researcher Narayana Peesapaty spotted an alarming trend: Groundwater levels in the region of Hyderabad were falling precipitously. He examined rainfall records but found nothing to explain the drop. Looking deeper, he discovered that the culprit was a change in agricultural practices. Many area farmers had abandoned millet—a traditional crop increasingly regarded as “the poor man’s food”—in favor of rice, a thirsty crop that requires 60 times as much water to grow. And because they had access to heavily subsidized electricity, the farmers were continuously pumping water into their fields. Peesapaty tried to influence agricultural policies by documenting the problem in government reports, to no avail. So, he looked instead for ways to boost demand for millet. He hit on the idea of turning it into “edible cutlery”—a solution that could attack not just the groundwater deficit but also the scourge of plastic waste. Peesapaty quit his job to pursue the project. A decade later, after a video he posted about the cutlery went viral, orders began pouring in. Two crowdfunding …

Start with a side gig, develop your breakthrough idea.

There is a saying that the best time to plant a shade tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now. The best time to launch a consulting business is when you are still employed. And if you are not employed then the second best time in now. I used the side gig route. Some 8 years ago, it looked like my MNC career was going to involuntarily end, Well at least involuntarily on my part. My employer had no such concerns. In one of the many restructurings that most companies seem to have, my role had been pulled out of Asia and back to HQ.  It seemed to me that the writing was on the wall. I was about sixty years old at the time, which is not the easiest age to find a new job. I decided I would become a part time or fractional CFO. As I said a couple of minutes ago, I felt I had some useful experience that would stand me in good stead. At about the …

10 things you need to consider before you launch your second career.

Thinking about launching a second career as a consultant, coach or content creator? It’s time to grab a notebook and pen or pencil and start jotting down the thoughts that are going through your mind about your new business venture. I do strongly suggest that you do physically write down your ideas rather than typing them on an electronic device. Research has shown that the act of writing by hand leads to better retention of ideas. And if you are like me I love a high quality note book combined with a fountain pen. There is something deeply satisfying about liquid ink gliding over smooth paper. But then I know I am a bit of a throw back.   Consult your spouse, partner, or significant other. You may be planning a second career but your partner maybe dreaming of lazy days at the beach, lake or even home. Take the time to discuss your plans and reach an agreement between the two of you of what is going to work. As a generation we are …

Affiliate Marketing

Following the various ideas we have covered in earlier episodes you may have been able to build a substantial following. Now is the time to consider affiliate marketing as a low-cost option to generating income.  This is particularly attractive if you do not yet have a product to sell. What is affiliate marketing? It is an agreement where you agree to promote a product or service in return for a share in the income generated from your lead. If effect it is a fancy term for the historical, but still relevant, finder’s fee. The most widely known affiliate program is the Amazon associate program where if someone clicks on your link you earn a commission on anything they buy in the next 24 hours, with some caveats. It is easy to set up your associate status, I did it in a few minutes. But there are a few things you should know, and I will share them in my new blog The Geriatric Entrepreneur launching to tie in the start of season 9 on IBGR …

Lower cost options – Help all your followers.

You can cater to the rich, and I’ll take the rest; the good Lord made more of them. Kemmons Wilson founder Holiday Inn Not everyone can afford to spend a couple of thousands of dollars for a course. And it is likely that many of your followers fall into that category. They have been devouring your free content and would love to buy something from you. But $2000? That’s way beyond their budget. If you have built up a decent following it is possible to generate an attractive income from a $100 product or even a $10 product. Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery thinks of these varied product offerings as ascension ladder. He says it is foolish to only think of selling big ticket items. Instead, you must think about customer lifetime value. A customer spending $25 per month over five years is worth $1,500. And done right your marginal cost of serving this customer can be near zero. That $1,500 is pure profit. And the folks who do buy your big-ticket items. …

Leverage your platform by creating online courses

You have an expertise; you know others want to learn it because you have been building up your following. What can be more obvious than to develop an on-line course? The ultimate make it once, sell it many times. If only it was that easy. The truth is creating and launching a course is difficult. That’s what Jared Kleinert found when he tried to launch a course called “Yourself with Wealth”. In a very transparent Forbes blog post he detailed his failure. It started with three numbers $997, $11,000, $0. The first number $997 was the price that Jared intended to charge for his course. $11,000 was the amount he had spent preparing his course. $0 was the sales he achieved. What went wrong? As Kleinert puts it; “As entrepreneurs we like to chase the next shiny object, like a cool online course. In my rush to make a quick buck, I missed a vital step. I never interviewed my potential customers” Jared has moved onto other things but his advice to others thinking about …

Build a Speaking Practice.

Last week we learned how you can start building your brand and then ways to use that brand to monetize your skills. We looked at the steps needed to build a consulting or coaching business. And then how to break away from the tyranny of the clock, which limits your earnings to the hours you can work. If you can command $300 per hour, and very few consultants are able to charge more, then earnings more than $250,000 per year are possible. But wouldn’t it be nice to earn that, or more, working fewer hours.  We learned lessons from folks who have developed as systemized approach and others who had the courage to offer a premium product that could be sold over and over again. To some extent this week we start by returning to a paid by hour activity. Building your own speaking practice. The difference? Once you have established your credibility as a speaker your hourly rate will be very very attractive. Event organizers often have a generous budget speakers. And why not? …

Break free of the clock

Continuing to learn from Dorie Clark’s excellent book “Entrepreneurial You” In an earlier post I mentioned Michael Port’s book “Book Yourself Solid”. Let me share with you the changing ways Mr. Port was able to capitalize on his book’s success. After publishing his book in 2006 Mr. Port suddenly had a massive new audience. He now had the scale needed to build a group coaching program. He started with teleseminars, most internet connections at the time were not fast enough to support video conferences. The cost for a three-month program was $1,200 and demand was strong. Then he tried a yearlong mentoring program for $8,000 per person which entitled his clients to several training calls per month and three, three-day retreats per year. His initial program had 40 participants. Even when he increased his price to $12,000 demand remained strong attracting between 150 and 250 clients each year. But his participants found travel to the retreats pricey, and Michael Port found executing large live events, costly and stressful. Like all good entrepreneurs he took the …

How to build a successful coaching/consulting business?

Continuing to learn from Dorie Clark’s book “Entrepreneurial You” Step 1 Develop your initial market. Tell your family, friends, contacts about your decision to launch a consulting business. Ask them for introductions to folks who are able to hire and who you may be able to help. If time permits you should do this with a personal call or e-mail. And be specific about the type of client you want to attract. I would love to work with anyone in the aviation industry, or ask do you know anyone in Google, they would be my dream client. Of course, this assumes that you have a clear idea of what type of coaching/consulting business you want to build.   If it is not obvious to you where your skill set lies, or maybe you are a generalist, complete an assessment of your areas of expertise.  Some pointers from Bozi Dar who runs an online business as a side gig, Understand what you are well qualified to share. In her book Dorie uses the phrase uniquely qualified, …

Monetize your expertise.

Continuing to look at the ideas contained in Dorie Clark’s book “Entrepreneurial You” Building up the courage to charge for your services is challenging. What if no one wants your product? Or people complain that you are overpriced?  Or call you a sell out for charging at all? Yes that may well happen. But you cannot help others with your advice or great product or outstanding service if you cannot keep yourself in business. It’s strange, people willpay $200 per hour for a psychiatrist  but will look askance at paying the same rate to tap into your decades of experience. I “lose” many potential clients when I tell them my charges, for me this is often a cause for regret, not because I have lost a potential client but because I know I could deliver them many times more value than I charge. Should I reduce my rates? No! I charge what I am worth, as is borne out by my client history. My clients can terminate my services at any time, I do not …