Suppose I decide to set myself up as a business mentor. I decide on this because a) I know it’s a ‘thing’, and b) I see there are plenty of business mentors out there (so it must be generating an income for someone).
I buy a domain (eg. ABCBusinessMentoring.com) and spend a couple of months setting it up.
I make a top ten list of reasons why people need a business mentor, and deck out the entire site with my copy.
I set up an autoresponder, create an ethical bribe, a tripwire, and a pretty cool looking sales page introducing my monthly mentoring program.
Six months after it’s been set up, nothing has happened. Not a single call. No one on my email list. No one en-route through my epic sales funnel, and no income.
What went wrong?
I enter ‘business mentor’ in Google and two things become apparent:
1. There must be plenty of money in it (there’s a full complement of ads above and below the fold).
2. I can’t find a single mentor on the first two pages of organic results. It’s all business support organisations.
I click on the first ad. It brings up a 404 page not found error. I click on the second ad, that’s a little better in that it’s a mentoring organisation listing about 90 mentors. They all sound pretty similar though.
I click on the third ad, and I’m shown a guy standing in front of two super cars and a fitness gym. He says his fees start at the 6 figure mark, and adds “if you’re looking for a bargain advisor, I am not it”.
So what went wrong?
The usual: Assumptions: “I am a business mentor, therefore every business is looking for a business mentor.”
Let’s rephrase that for the copywriting industry: “I’m a copywriter and every business is looking for a copywriter.”.
They aren’t. Their needs vary. Some need money to pay their bills. Some need more time to fulfil their orders. Some need insurance advice to cover an exhibition. Some need sales people. Some need designers. Some need a better looking website. Some need a holiday.
What they’re not looking for right now is a copywriter, mentor, advisor, course, Ebook, or headache.
To make any business work, we must focus on who we serve, and why we serve them. To focus on anything else results in nothing. I know because I’ve done it too many times (and it fails every time).
I had a question today: “how much should I charge for a project?”. My answer: “whatever you need”. The questioner’s focus is wrong, and the reason is fear. They are frightened they will get turned down. They are frightened they won’t charge enough. The answer is always the same. Focus on value. What is value? Now there’s a question. To be continued.
PS. This took me 4 hours to write. I deleted twice as many words as I ended up with. I took a break in the middle and watched a film. We never know how long it will take to complete anything. All we know is that we’ll only have a chance if we try.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which helps copywriters learn more about copywriting and the copywriting industry around the world.
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