– Danielle LaPorte
Last week, I stated that one reason women are earning less in the Creative Class is that women tend to think in relationships as opposed to scale.
This week, returning from the second annual World Domination Summit, I stand even more firm in this knowledge.
I don’t go to this event for the content. I go to talk to customers, friends, and mentors. And most of the women I talked to – my good friends included – worry about betraying their tribes and coming up short if they were to scale what they offer.
First, what do I mean by scale? Simply, scale is serving as many customers as possible with as little effort on behalf of your business as possible. Serving a group of customers through scale means that your business has an impact on people who you wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.
Scaling leverages your gifts for the greatest good across the broadest channels.
I believe that most microbusinesses require a level of premium, unleveraged work. It could take the form of commission art, couture dresses, one on one coaching, or corporate speaking engagements. But most of those same businesses require a level of leverage to take their impact to scale. The two sides of the equation can and do work hand-in-hand.
One informs the other, improving both.
I woke up on Saturday thinking, “I need a little Danielle LaPorte.” Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? Luckily, I was in a position to remedy that thought. I plopped myself in a chapel pew at during her session.
She began her Q&A session with her brief observations on the conference so far. Her first was the simple but oh-so-delicious statement, “Love scales.” Ah yes, this is why I came. My entrepreneurial musings boiled down into a two word sound bite.
World Domination Summit is a beautiful example of how you can nurture relationships while leveraging your gifts & skills. Chris Guillebeau doesn’t have a relationship with each of the people who bought tickets – all within minutes of them going on sale. But, of course, many people feel like they have relationship with him.
More importantly, their connection to Chris makes connecting to the others at WDS much easier. It’s not the relationship with Chris that makes this event a success; it’s all the other relationships that are spawned by their implicit connection.
Yes, love scales at WDS. It scales at meet ups, conferences, and events. It scales at rock concerts, sidewalk sales, and yoga classes. Love even scales through ebooks, programs, and masterminds.
It’s the intention, process, and values that create the atmosphere that allows love to scale through a business. It’s not a business owner or her work with any individual client.
What holds you back from leveraging your gifts & skills to create more wealth and impact more lives is thinking that your work can’t survive without you & your attention to the client. But that’s what’s really beautiful: you aren’t the important part of the work you’re doing.
Your process – when you discover it, learn it, codify it – is the important part of your work.
It’s your process, the love that you put in it, and the love that your clients generate through it that carries your work, allowing you to scale your business and harvest its riches. It’s the love that your customers discover through each other that carries your work out into the world in new & unexpected ways. It’s the love that is born in a movement of ideas that creates positive change that you yourself could not create on your own.
It’s therefore your duty – as well as a killer earning strategy – to leverage the love & scale your offers.
So tell me, what is your process and how could you utilize it to scale your business?
Thank the heavens, Richard Florida has just released an update to his foundational book, The Rise of the Creative Class.
Not so thankfully, Florida’s research shows that women earn about 40% less than men do in creative class employment.
In my own research, 32.6% of men surveyed earned more than $75,000 per year in their small businesses compared to only 10.6% of women.
I’m sure that many of the cliche reasons for the gender wage gap apply to creative class employment – possibly better than they do for employment as a whole. Women choose creative class employment because it’s flexible, they can work from home, they can work for themselves. They can take a break for children and they can support their partners.
While these may be reasons that women have traditionally earned less than men over time, they are not the reason you are earning less.
You are earning less because your business model is not set up to earn more.
Here’s what men know that women don’t know:
It’s easier to earn the second $50,000 than it is to earn the first $50,000.
In other words, once you’ve earned $50,000, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be earning 6-figures. The difference is that earning 6-figures generally requires leveraging your earning. It means no longer trading time for money. It means understanding what parts of your business can be duplicated over & over again with almost zero effort. It means finding a tipping point again, and again, and again.
Women don’t need to give up flexible hours or time with kids. They need to embrace better business models that are based on value & results, not time & energy.
Women seem to prefer relational transactions. Men seem to prefer transactional relationships.
Relational transactions happen most often in project-based or one-to-one client scenarios. The easy way to develop a relationship is with time, exchange, and getting-to-know-ya. You put your whole heart & soul into the process. Those relationships turn towards a transaction when you have something that fills a need for the other person.
It’s a feel good way to do business. But it’s a slow process. Each customer represents hours of time, loads of money (don’t think your social media use & Skype coffee dates aren’t costing you), and emotional stress waiting for those relationships to convert.
On the other hand, transactional relationships come fast & furious. They utilize scale to generate the revenue that’s needed in the business. Transactional relationships are built on acute needs & impulse purchases.
The difficulty with this model is that it’s difficult to achieve customer loyalty. Once a solution is purchased, there’s often no word from the customer to find out if it’s working or not. And this type of business might leave you scratching your head, wanting more.
You Economy businesses thrive when they find the sweet spot between transactional relationships & relational transactions.
In this sweet spot, customers are directed through an experience of a business that creates a personal investment. They understand that you are doing business with them in mind, that your business is geared to their success, and that you have a vision for how their lives can be better.
Customers are interested in the content you’ve created: articles, audios, videos, images. They devour it. They want more. They interact with you on social media, they hang out at your store, they talk about your products with their friends.
And you listen.
That’s the secret of a great relationship, right? It’s listening instead of talking. While you’re listening, it’s your job to discern what your new friends are saying. What is troubling them? What is confusing them? How are they feeling? What are they thinking?
Look for the patterns.
The money is in the patterns.
When more than a few people say the same thing over & over again, you’ve got a pattern and an opportunity.
A smart You Economy business will take that pattern and create a solution for it.
When that solution turns out to be the killer app for the pattern your friends are experiencing, they feel like you created it just for them. They feel heard, witnessed, nurtured.
But instead of selling it once, you’ve sold it 100 times.
Leveraged income isn’t outside the customer relationship cycle. It’s an integral part of it. You don’t develop leveraged income opportunities to generate money where before there was none. You develop leveraged income opportunities to solve problems for people you care about, over & over & over again.
If you’re making $10k, $20k, even $50k per year, you’re already solving problems for people one at a time. To make the jump to your dream income, your goal is to solve problems for people 10, 100, even 1000 people at a time.
As an example, I’ve created systems for listening to my new friends all over my business. One pattern that emerged was people asking for new ways to “get the word out” to potential customers. I could wait for these people to come to me as individual business strategy clients. I could have tweaked my services copy entice people based on this need.
Instead, I created a solution, called Marketing ReWired, that solves the problem for my friends over & over again. As a result, it costs less too. And they get the benefit of working through the program with their friends & colleagues.
I could have a business based exclusively on one-on-one business strategy clients. But it would be an average income at best. Instead, I have a business that’s based on creating leveraged solutions to problems that has already generated $100k in sales this year.
Don’t fight your desire to forge & foster relationships with your potential customers. Just realize that you can serve more than one person at a time. In fact, you owe it to your customers to do just that.
That’s the first step to doubling your business earnings and closing the gender wage gap of the creative class.