Just 2.5 years ago…
… Murray and I were running our business from far-flung places like Bali, Thailand, Sweden. We were truly living the ultimate “Lifestyle Entrepreneur” dream. And what’s more — I was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine in a story called, “Operating a Business Without a Permanent Address.”
So what’s the problem?
Simply put, in the past year, as our business hits the 5 year mark and crosses the multi-7-figure mark, what I’ve come to realize is that what got us here simply isn’t going to get us any further.
I realized that trying to run our business without a permanent address was actually limiting our growth.
Trying to outsource and subcontract everything was taking the heart and soul out of our business. If I didn’t even have a solid relationship with my team, how was I going to have a relationship with my tribe?
I looked around me and saw a range of businesses online…
… from hucksters pushing those “make money while you sleep” & “push-button automated passive income” promises…
… to successful location-independent friends who had hit the ceiling on their business, and realized that we could only go so far while living the la vida loca…
… to the online business owners I admired who were putting down real roots, renting offices and building real organizations based on real relationships.
I could see that if I wanted to make a bigger impact and truly scale our business to the 7- and ultimately 8-figure-mark, have a huge impact, and build a real movement, then I needed to “grow up”, and get over the fascination that the Internet Marketing world has with attractive but ultimately flawed ideas like:
– The “4 Hour Work Week”
– “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship”
– “Make Money While You Sleep”
– Instant “Push-Button” Income (while sitting on the beach drinking cocktails)
So we made the decision to buck that trend and put down roots in Marina del Rey, California. We took out a lease on a home office space, and now we have 3 employees coming in to work every single day and a team of over 20 around the world.
I’ve noticed that many of the top experts and entrepreneurs are also making the choice to leave “Neverland” and built real brands and businesses that are making a dent in the universe. That’s not to say they don’t still escape, run off to Burning Man, or take month-long vacations… the spirit of freedom is still there.
This “shift” I’m talking about simply changes what the rest of the year looks like.
In this post, I wanted to share a few of the shifts we’ve made at Live Your Message… along with the shifts I’ve noticed happening all around me as we enter 2017 and the online business world continues to mature…
Shift #1 – From Virtual Teams to Local Teams
People are realizing that you can only go so far as a fly-by-night virtual company with no phone number and no address.
While many online business continue to supplement their teams through outsourcing and subcontracting, more and more businesses are building local teams or bringing their global teams together in person more often.
Shift #2 – From Automated Sales to Sales Teams
While automated evergreen sales funnels continue to provide a powerful front-end to bring new customers in the doors, most 7-figure+ online businesses have sales teams that build a relationship with new or prospective customers and draw them into higher-ticket offers.
Shift #3 – From Information Products to Experience Products
As online publishing megasites such as Udemy, Clickbank and Coursera continue to expand, the street value of information products continues to drop — often to $200 or much less.
If you want to charge higher pricepoints for your work and avoid having your work pirated, then you need to make the leap to Experience Products, which are products that go beyond the delivery of information and provide engaging experiences that 10x sales and customer results.
One of the best ways to do that is to include some real-time delivery, interaction and engagement. (Related: My press release at Nasdaq.com)
Shift #4 – From Email to Phone Calls, Text Message and Snail Mail
We just launched a new program with over 400 students and realized that some of them weren’t getting our emails… and, as will happen, some of the people getting our emails weren’t reading them…
So, instead of a “too bad for them” approach, we’ve started to incorporate phone calls, text messages and even postcards by snail mail into our customer retention efforts.
Yes, it costs more to do this, but after spending a huge amount of money to attract a paying a customer in the first place, losing them immediately to the “black hole” of email is a huge financial loss we’re not willing to accept.
Also, in a world full of companies that only rely on email, having a “no customer left behind” policy based on providing real-time support and interaction really stands out and sets you apart in a powerful way.
Shift #5 – From Global Audiences to In-Person Gatherings
While our global audience continues to expand and we have customers from dozens of countries, we’re seeing the need to bring our tribe together more often through in-person events.
In addition to the 1-2 big in-person events we do every year, plus the half dozen small events each year for our premium customers, we’re now building and gathering our local tribe together through monthly Meetups. It’s easy to feel alone as an online entrepreneur, and people need a community of like-minded peers now more than ever.
As the online business world matures and enters its second decade and many online entrepreneurs continue to zig, I believe it’s now time to zag.
I’ve personally felt the amazing power of what’s possible when you combine online with offline. The power of automating without losing humanity, or knowing when to automate and when to pick up the phone.
I’ve always said that “Before you can make money while you’re asleep, you have to be able to make money while you’re awake.” Now, I also believe that the only way to make big money and big impact is to build a real company and have a real relationship with your tribe.
So as you grow and build, which of these trends resonate with you?