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.