Business owners today don’t need a fancy education to make big money, but they do need drive, initiative and focus. Maximizing your income depends on learning all you can, understanding your real value and presenting yourself in the best possible light.
Brainstorming your hidden strengths with an expert coach can move your business to the next level. How do I know? I tried it.
The phone call that changed my career
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Matthew Pollard -- the "Rapid Growth Guy." A friend recommended him, and I was interested in what he had to say. At the same time, I'm a huge skeptic. Frankly, I think most “business coaches” are 100 percent full of BS. I was not expecting much.
Matthew was a complete surprise. He has a knack for getting right to the heart of things. In our first chat -- which was free, by the way -- he pointed out that defining myself as a writer doesn't come close to describing my value.
Who is Matthew Pollard, and what is Rapid Growth?
When we met, Matthew was a whopping 31 years old -- less than half my age. Which did nothing to decrease my skepticism.
The first thing I asked was “what do you mean by rapid growth?” He launched a website, and nine months later was inducted into to the International Best Sales Blogger Awards Hall of Fame 2015, That's pretty darn rapid. But not as rapid as growing for 200 followers on twitter in May of 2015 to being listed by Evan Carmichael as the 43rd most re-tweeted business coach on twitter only seven months later.
Did I mention 31? (He just had a birthday, he's actually 32 now.)
Rapid Growth is exactly what it sounds like. No matter what business you're in or how big or small your business is now, Matthew helps you brainstorm realistic ways to skyrocket your business and your income.
My most obvious skill is writing, but that's not my main value proposition. If writing were the only thing I offer, I would never make much money. There are a million writers, and most of them are working for peanuts. My real value lies in the knowledge, expertise and insight I offer -- not in how well I can put sentences together.
People who call themselves writers range from people who write product descriptions for Auto Trader to Shakespeare. Calling myself a writer has about the same impact on a potential client as calling myself a biped. Like most people, I have two legs. Oh, and I write.
Matthew pointed out that “writer” simply doesn't do me justice. It's a conversation ender. When I tell people what I do, they should be intrigued, not bored. Here's an example of how a new approach changes the conversation.
Me: “I'm a writer.”
New business contact: “Oh, have you written any novels I would recognize?” (delivered with polite disinterest)
Me: “No, that's not what I do, I'm a business blogger.”
New business contact: “Oh. A blogger. I see. Well, I must go, my hair is on fire. Nice meeting you.”
Me: “I'm a traffic and authority catalyst."
New business contact: "That sounds interesting. What is that?"
Me: “I help small and medium businesses drastically increase their authority over their competitors and help them attract qualified buyers to their brand”
New business contact: “WOW? Tell me more. A lot more.”
Score! See how changing your elevator pitch changes the tone of the conversation?
Setting realistic goals
Matthew and I talked about realistic goals and making a plan to achieve those goals. Most people have vague ideas. He often hears, “I want to make a lot of money.”
If you set specific goals and make a plan for achieving them, you may blow past your goals in record time. It's the same kind of advice I give content-marketing clients, but I never really thought it through for myself. I remember my first goal. The company I worked for nearly went out of business, and a friend offered me a job as a writer for a content service at $15 a page -- and I thought it was marvelous.
My goal was to earn enough money in a month to cover my car insurance bill, about $200. It didn't seem possible that writing could afford me a real living. But I made that $200 in two days -- and I had found a new career.
My goals have gotten a lot bigger since then. And now I have a workable strategy to make it all happen.
Matthew's success stories
Judy Robinette was Inc.com's #1 business book writer of 2014 when she came across an Entrepreneur article written by Matthew on doing a soft sales close. She was already a top-level writer and an in-demand speaker, but, like most of us, was uncomfortable marketing her own services. Valuing your own services and closing the deal is hard for everyone at first.
When Judy followed Matthew's advice, she drastically increased her speaking fees almost right away, just by saying one simple line, when a customer asked the question we all fear: “What is your fee? “
Judy was so thrilled with the advice that she obtained with Matthew, she offered to write the forward for his upcoming book (stay turned for that one).
When I grow up, I want to be just like Judy.
Or maybe like John McIntyre, a marketer Matthew launched into rarefied air. I asked him to him tell you in his own words:
“Matt Pollard is a brilliant coach. He knows how to get you to figure out what you want and get extreme clarity on that so you know exactly what to do and how to get there. He helped me re-brand and re-position my business to go after a higher target market with much better margins and an overall better business model. He was the catalyst behind pushing me to set up a business built around recurring revenue instead of staying focused on the freelance grind. And as a result, I've been able to speak at several conferences including a recent one in San Diego with 3,000 attendees. I'm currently in Europe speaking at other conferences on eCommerce email marketing in the coming months. Some amazing stuff is happening -- and I'm incredibly excited.”
Or Derek Lewis, a writer who was in deep trouble when he met Matthew:
So here's the deal.
Elevating your financial status is impossible only if you don't know where to start -- with your own true value. Whether you're a dog walker, a writer or an aspiring astronaut, your income depends on communicating your value to others, and then delivering even more than you pitched.