Over 15 years ago, Harry Beckwith published, ‘Selling the Invisible’. It was a commentary on the move from selling hard goods and manufacturing, to selling services.
In this internet marketing age we’ve seen an immense upsurge in ‘Selling Hope’.
It took me a while to see this. I thought I was selling solutions. ‘How to become self-employed!’ I was fervent about pushing people along. Finding their motive, finding a viable idea, creating it into an offering, launching it and them becoming free agents!
As time went on, I realized how many people had been paying me $95 per month for three years or more. I’d check their member profiles and see zero activity for months, if not a year. This left me feeling flat-out guilty.
Were they like me and just didn’t check bank or credit card statements? Was I inadvertently stealing their money? I went on a rampage, personally contacting each member and in some cases…chastising them. Telling them it wasn’t good for them or me to have them paying and not using our services and progressing!
My idealism run amok.
What I heard back from most was…they were holding on to hope. They were ‘lurking’. The read what I put out and listened to classes here and there. And it was helping keep hope alive.
Then, I saw so many people finally take action. Their time had come.
In the world of infopreneuring, selling information, the primary asset is…HOPE. And inspiration.
All the business bloggers and experts who dutifully pump out books, blogs and podcasts with great, actionable information, are mainly being followed for…HOPE.
And to be honest, it’s entertainment. Positive entertainment. You may learn something you can use, and you are inspired.
NOTE: If you are trying to make a go of infopreneuring, realize it is very much a popularity contest. You’ve got to churn out content and keep the inertia running at a high level. You need to be a master of social media. You need credibility of others citing you as a viable resource. You need to be speaking, writing, presenting, connecting and playing the game very well.
*You’ve gotta have great content too!
But many who have great content don’t realize the score and what it all really takes.
This coming Thursday I’m speaking for the Business Chamber of Southern Colorado, led by my good friend Jill Davis. The room will be filled with small business owners. The people who own and run the small businesses that run our country. I like to call them ‘Main Street Businesses’.
Most of these folks couldn’t tell you the latest New York Times bestselling flavor of the day book, top ranked iTunes business podcast or who reigns in the biz blogosphere. I know, as I’ve tried to toot my horn about being on the Entrepreneur on Fire show recently and gotten blank stares…
They are busy running their businesses. Serving meals or coffee or beer. Cleaning carpets. Managing employees. Doing the books. Advertising.
They don’t sell information. They sell hard products and services that people rely on. They fulfill desires and solve problems.
What’s my point?
For many of you desiring to be self-employed and enmeshed in this online world of blogging, podcasting, book writing and TED talks, realize this is a really small segment of self-employment. It doesn’t really make up The Millionaire Next Door small business owners that Thomas Stanley wrote about almost two decades ago.
And the primary audience for online business infopreneuring is ‘Wantrepreneurs’. People desiring a business venture, but not engaged in one or really taking action toward it.
The primary audience for ‘Main Street America Small Businesses’ is…people who need a tangible product or service to fulfill a need or solve a problem.
So if you’re desiring to be a free agent and listening to infopreneurs in a world of online marketing and business whose primary deliverable is hope and primary audience is wantrepreneurs…
Is that the business model that fits you? Fine if it is, but again, it’s a very small segment of the true self-employed and it requires much more in the way of selling yourself. And for every one ‘customer’ who takes action on your counsel, there will be a sea who appreciate your hope and inspiration, but may not act for a long time…if at all.
The opportunities for self-employment are vast. Think about it the next time you’re downtown sipping coffee from a business owner that’s never heard of Seth Godin or John Lee Dumas. Much less (dramatically), me.