- Should you buy social media followers? 💰
- How to retain 90% of everything you learn 🤔
- Why you should sell your secret sauce to competitors 👩🍳
- Turning your expertise into an online course 💻
- Reading list for freelancers and consultants 📖
My focus lately has been on learning (and teaching) ways to scale my service-based business so that I’m not limited by hours in a day, location, or energy.
When you sell services, you eventually reach a limit. You can raise your prices, hire more people, or work longer hours, but sooner or later you will reach a ceiling. More money means more resources and infrastructure. And that’s not a simple thing to compound when your business grows.
We live in a time that makes it so accessible for service providers to sell their expertise at scale. And on the internet, there’s almost always a need and demand to learn pretty much anything that can be sold as a service.
It’s like the old saying, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” People will buy the fishing rod and instructions if you sell it to them. Or you can keep going out fishing yourself, selling what you catch in perpetuity.
Much of what you’ll read in this edition of my Insider Weekly is about adding scale and leverage to your services business by selling information in the form of a course or digital training product.
It’s not just for consultants either – this is intended for entrepreneurs of all stripes – especially those who sell services. Read on to learn more.
1. Should you buy social media followers?
Buying social media followers is a controversial topic. I wrote an article about the subject, including some pros, cons, as well as the more ethical ways of paying to grow your following.
Read Article: Should You Buy Social Media Followers?
2. How To Retain 90% Of Everything You Learn
The author of this article, Sean D’Souza, has a way of making ideas sound so simple and intuitive that whenever I read his work or listen to his podcasts, things just ‘click’.
I was actually trying to find a different podcast by him when I stumbled across this article. It was just what I needed to read.
The article is about how people retain information. It’s fairly intuitive. He cites a paradigm developed in the 1960s but the NTL Institute in Bethel, Maine called The Learning Pyramid.
A quick summary of The Learning Pyramid is the following (which sometimes get cited differently):
- 90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.
- 75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
- 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
- 30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
- 20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
- 10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
- 5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from lecture.
I’m not sure how accurate these numbers are—and I think I learn a lot from pure audio—but what I found most interesting was the 90% retention rate held by people who teach or use what they learn immediately.
Interestingly, Sean says he uses and applies information he learns right away. This might be why is articles and insights feel so relevant. Here’s a quote from Sean about that:
I learn something. I write it down in a mindmap. I talk to my wife or clients about the concept. I write an article about it. I do an audio. And so it goes. A simple concept is never just learned. It needs to be discussed, talked, written, felt etc. (I wrote this article, ten minutes after reading these statistics online).
I highly recommend giving this one a read to see how you can teach and apply what you learn to retain more information and become smarter in the process.
3. Why Selling Strategies to Competition Is A Smart Idea
This was the podcast I was looking for when I stumbled on the article above instead.
I listened to this a while ago and found it counter-intuitively brilliant. It involves expanding your business by selling your strategies to your competition.
For example, are you a dentist, landscaper, web designer, something else? Sell your secret sauce as a digital product or training package.
Big companies can thrive on muscle power alone and sell solely to their customers. A smaller business, on the other hand, needs to learn to share; to teach the competition what they already know.
The author goes on to tell a story about a lumber company and how they applied this strategy. I get it, it’s entirely counter-intuitive, but it’s an intriguing idea that I’ll bet more than a few subscribers reading this would benefit from.
Podcast w/ Transcript: Why Selling Strategies to Competition Is A Smart Idea
4. Why You Should Turn Your Process into a Course
If you haven’t noticed a theme by now, I’m talking a lot about teaching what you know and selling your expertise as a product.
Chances are, you are like me in that you sell your expertise as a service. But as any service provider knows, it’s limiting. There are only so many hours in a day.
So you could continue to raise your rates, you could expand and grow your team, or you can do what scales: sell a digital information product.
What I like about this article from Janelle Allen of Zen Courses is that she keeps things super practical. Here are two takeaways that demonstrate what I mean, then go read the rest if you find it interesting:
1. Sell the process
As a service provider, you have a process for doing the work. Even if it’s not recorded anywhere but in your head, and even if it’s different each time, there is—at the very least—a thought process that goes into it.
Teach that thing. Sell it. It’s valuable. Even if it’s only a small part of what you do.
You don’t need to sell your entire library of processes, it can be as simple as one area or segment of your job. The main thing is it delivers an outcome people are looking for. You can sell many different outcomes, each as their own product.
Which brings me to the second point.
2. Focus on teaching the outcome
People buy outcomes, not “courses” or “information”. Instead of focusing on what you’re selling, focus on the result a person will have by purchasing your course.
If you sell landscaping services, teach people hot to cut a grass so that it looks as professional as a golf course or football field. Teach people some low-tech ways to keep it green all year round or to keep weeds at bay with minimal intervention. People are buying that outcome more than anything, so focus on that entirely.
Janelle explains these concepts much better than I do, so go check out her article.
5. Reading list for freelancers and consultants
As a member of Jonathan Stark’s group coaching program, I get to see first hand the quality of his advice. Recently, he shared is recommended reading list for freelancers and consultants. If you sell your skills or expertise in general, I’m sure you’ll find something in there interesting to read.
As an aside, if you are not a consultant or freelancer, and you run a more traditional business, I highly suggest you read the E-Myth Revisited. It’s a game changer, and it’s also on his list.
Here’s his list: Reading list for freelancers and consultants