Proof of concept.
I heard myself say once that “Anyone could turn their passion into a business.” It was at an event I was hosting and I wanted to bite my tongue.
It’s not exactly true… Anyone can connect their passion to their business – but your passion alone won’t make you successful.
A business, by definition, creates a product or service that people are willing to pay for. And usually, they are willing to pay to have a problem solved.
One of my businesses is The Rinsemate. It costs $19.95 and it solves a problem: people who don’t have disposals don’t have to dig the gross bits of food out of their kitchen sink.
WISE creates a solution for women leaders and entrepreneurs to create wealth doing work that they love. Their problem (and maybe yours) is not being profitable or having to compromise themselves to be profitable.
What I love about business is that there are a gazillion strategies, business models and marketing approaches to creating success. Basically, there are infinite approaches that I’m going to boil down for you in this basic way:
To get to $1,000,000 in revenue you can either sell ONE thing that costs $1MM to ONE person.
You can sell 1,000,000 things that cost $1 to a MILLION peeps.
And any combination thereof… simple right?
Whether you solve a little problem (like The Rinsemate) or a big problem (like WISE) this formula applies.
It also applies to physical products and to services. Ten thousand $10 car washes gets us to a million. And I have a friend who coaches heads of governments and CEO’s for $1MM per year. (Yeah, she’s kinda badass).
What all of these things have in common is proof of concept, meaning that they have been brought to market and proven sound because people have paid money for them, the service or product has been delivered, and the customers were at least satisfied, although what we’d really love is for them to be is blown away by the awesomeness of what they bought.
Even huge behemoth companies like Proctor & Gamble make sure that they have proof of concept before bringing anything new to the market place. When I lived in Cincinnati, where they are headquartered, I could’ve tried new toothpastes and shampoo pretty much every day.
So what’s your point, Kiva???
My point is that learning how to grow your list, or get PR, or expand your reach online through social media, or launch your program online through webinars or whatever the thing is that you tell yourself you need before you go out into the world and actually get some clients, is an epic waste of time, money and resources if you don’t have proof of concept.
A few years ago my virtual assistant at the time called me in a panic. She had a new client who was about to drop $25K on branding, her website and social media banners etc.
“Kiva!!!” she exclaimed, “she hasn’t even had one client yet! We need an intervention.”
And intervene I did… in fact she became a client and we put her and her ego beautifully back to the beginning where she was able to start impacting women with her powerful coaching. (And making $$ instead of spending it).
When you are starting out, unless you’ve got some OPM to spend (other people’s money… as they say in the world of venture capital) audience building and exposure are a losing proposition for building sustainable revenue in your business.
Your ego may love it, but your bank account won’t.
My goal for most of my Foundation Level clients is to build to $10k per month doing high level work with actual clients.
And the amazing thing is that you don’t need a list, a website, an article published by HuffPo or another course on facebook ads to reach that goal.
What do you need??
Yup. Proof of Concept
You’ll learn how much people are or aren’t willing to pay.
You’ll learn the words that perfectly describe the problem that your business solves because your clients will say them!
You’ll learn the essence and quality and voice that will inform your branding for years to come.
The on-the-ground, in-the-trenches work that we do with people, is how we discover what our business is, AND by the way, get paid while we do it.
Online marketing and all of the next level stuff (The Surplus Level as we call it around here) is an amazing way to get your work into the hands of people all over the world and make an impact through your passion.
When. You. Are. Ready.
But trying to skip over proof of concept is a costly mistake both in the money you’ll spend and the time you’ll invest, where the peeps getting rich are the one’s selling you the dream that if you build it they will come.
I’ve been there, love. For years this very business was a beautiful website, a weekly radio show with TENS of THOUSANDS of listeners from all over the world, and approximately $0 in revenue, never mind profit.
I had to leave WISE and go create actual businesses that generated actual revenue so that I could come back home and show you the path to actual success. Over $2MM has come through me in the last several years – no magic pills, no shortcuts, no empty promises.
Happy customers. Solid results. Sustainable revenue. Intentional Profit.
This, my love, is the way.
I know it’s not fancy, and it many ways it can feel really scary.
One of my mentorship clients said it best:
“Kiva, I would rather talk to 1000 people on a webinar that I don’t know, than go and talk to ONE person I do know about what I do.”
“I know babes.” I said.
“And that’s exactly why that’s the thing we need to support you to go and do.”
Is this tough love I’m dishin’ out today?
Mostly it’s my passion that you do the things that move you toward what you want, in the fastest way possible.
You get to have success without compromise, if that’s what you want, but you’re going to have to acknowledge the Truth of where you are and the conditions of the marketplace to do so, and do the work.
And I promise, the stuff you want to skip over, or avoid, or shortcut holds so much goodness for you. There’s money there, sure – but there’s gold that is far more valuable.
It’s about who YOU become as you are gaining your very own proof of concept, one super-satisfied customer at a time.