More and more, the line between online and offline businesses is increasingly blurred—as it should be, with offline businesses catching up to the age of the global access available via the internet.
With that evolution, there are three ways to leverage an online audience today as a creator:
1. To Support Your Primary Business
Most financial advisors have a similar business model. They ask clients and staff to send referrals, and then they work with clients in return for a percentage of investment as a management fee.
Not Brian Preston. Brian (also known as “The Money Guy") is a fee-only advisor, with a team of advisors who don't take commissions at all. Instead, they charge an upfront fee for their financial advice and management services—and they are growing like crazy, year-after-year. In 2019, they added clients with $100 million in assets.
Why? Well, Brian has a podcast and a YouTube channel where he regularly shares financial advice free of charge with his co-host, Bo Hansen. Together, they have built an engaged audience of nearly 100,000 YouTube subscribers along with a highly engaged audience behind their podcast (with more than 300 episodes).
On a regular basis, clients call Brian’s team directly, ready to buy, because they've already built trust through their online content. Brian Preston uses online influence to support his primary business model.
2. To Diversify Your Primary Business
Many brick-and-mortar retail stores depend on a steady flow of foot traffic to make sales each day, but not Needle & Grain. Bryson and Susan Leech started Needle & Grain to share their love of lovingly-crafted home products, but they didn't let sales stop at their door.
They used Instagram to build a loyal fan base that would regularly visit, but they also launched an online version of their store from day one—so they could sell similar products to a similar audience in both their offline retail store and online e-commerce store.
That proved especially useful during the state-wide lockdown in April 2020, due to COVID-19. While their doors were closed to the public, Bryson and Susan were able to sustain their business by adding local delivery and doubling down on their e-commerce store. Bryson and Susan Leech use their online influence to diversify their primary business.
3. To Become Your Primary Business
Bobby Klinck essentially sells Word documents for a living, but that's not where he started. As a Harvard law graduate, he started his career as a government attorney—but it didn't suit him, long-term.
So, which way will you leverage online influence as a creator?
- To support your primary business
- To diversify your primary business
- To become your primary business