In the past several months I have been traveling the country and meeting with many highly successful business owners and entrepreneurs, including several “household names” that you would certainly recognize if I mentioned their names…but that’s not the point of this blog. The point is that I’m going to teach you how to avoid making the big mistake that most people make at the height of their success.
These celebrities, at one time or another, had millions of dollars media (radio, television, internet and newspaper), F-R-E-E media, talking about them and giving them publicity because what they had to offer, whether it was simply an entertaining personality, answers to a burning question the fans wanted to know, or the answer to a common problem the world is facing, was in high demand. And that’s a wonderful position to be in. The problem is that 99% of them never planned for the next phase of their career. Whether it’s an athlete, actor, musician, reality television star or any other personality that gets some media coverage, the simple truth is that in all but the rarest of circumstances, their current method of making substantial dollars is going to change. And likely it’s going to change before they even know what hit them.
If these celebrities and “talking heads” had taken the time to use the media they were given to create a funnel of interested prospects that they could sell products and services to, then they would be in a totally different position than they are in today.
Here’s an example.
Too Tall Jones is an amazing college basketballl player. It doesn’t matter what side of the court he is on, every time he lobs a ball up in the air he scores. He is so good that the media just can’t stop talking about him. He gets interviewed daily in every national newspaper, radio station, television market and even the biggest internet blogs. He is the MVP of the year and he’s about to get drafted into the NBA and finally make some money. He signs with the NBA, with a big signing bonus. He is making more money than he ever thought possible. He is a blockbuster hit for his team and the league as a whole. But, as his lifestyle grows, so do his expenses, and as ridiculous as it may sound to the rest of us, he’s basically getting by with great cash flow but not building up his wealth at all. He’s spending all the money he earns. He’s really helping out his family, his friends, and even some charities with huge gifts, but he’s not putting any money away. He’ll do that in a couple of years.
Fast forward to season 3, just after he put whatever money he could get his hands on into a big real estate investment that looks like it’s going to turn sour, he gets injured and he will never play basketball again. He gets dropped from the team, and even Hi-Top brand shoes pulls his endorsement. Then, as expected, the real-estate deal goes sour and his last millions are lost and gone forever.
What happens? He could use the notoriety he built to land a good job where he can build a customer base on the back of his star power and how great of an athlete he was. He could go coach high school or college basketball. There are any number of things he could be doing, but, he certainly won’t be making the kind of dollars he was making, or could have been making. Why? Because he now has to start all over in a new business.
What could he have done? While he was really getting some press during the first years of his professional career he could have been building his a business on the back of his fame. A few examples would be a membership-based website where fans would pay monthly fees to see videos of his technique and strategies so they could learn to be as good of a player as him, and where fans could connect with other die-hard fans so they could discuss their favorite plays he made, and favorite games of all time. He could have been selling DVD sets and workbooks on how to be the best player on the court and he could have even been building a list of fans online by offering them a free online video or basketball card or whatever, just so he could build his own business off the back of the fans that were trickling in based on the free publicity he was getting. Even if he was charging $10 a month, if he had several thousand fans paying to get access to his site and his videos, or paying to get the new plays of the month in their email or mailbox, he could have built up a consistent stream of income that was not reliant on the team cutting him a check.
But he didn’t. And he certainly is not alone.
When things are going great, we often don’t take the time to plan a few steps beyond our current success. We don’t take the time to build a list of our own fans so that if circumstances change beyond our control, or if we want to change them ourselves, we don’t have to start from scratch because we have a list of fans who are anxious to connect with us and hear what we have to offer next, that they will come along with us.
And while you probably aren’t lucky enough to be getting media coverage without paying for it, if you have a large influx of customers and prospects that are coming to you because they like what you have to offer, whether they learned about it from an advertisement or from a friend, you should be capturing the hearts, minds and contact information of those fans and starting to test market other things to them. Do you realize how much profit you could stack onto your business if you just sold another product or service to your existing clients and prospects without having to go out and find new people to sell to? The numbers are staggering. Take a few moments to think about what they could do for you and I’m sure you’ll quickly start writing down your plan to build a business on the back of your current Blockbuster hit.