013 Unlocking Growth: Scale to $250K in 12 months or Less
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I’ve been running my studio for 6-years and during that time I’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs as both a freelancer and studio owner. In 2016, our initial offer was $1,500. Last year the average contract value was $100,000. I
've seen both ends of the spectrum from barely making a profit due to low price points (still don't know what I was thinking at $1,500) to the scope creep that comes with scaling up to meet the demands of larger clients.
I've also spent hours upon hours in admin leading, coaching, and growing a team. Some of it was fun, but most of it wasn't.
I realized recently that I’ve leaned heavily into a growth model that was not the type of model I wanted to create. Don’t get me wrong, the growth has been beautiful, but when I started the studio, I started it because I wanted to create more, but over the last few years, the not-fun parts of growth became the space where I spent most of my time.
I’ve recently started to unwind the way the studio does business - enhancing the systems we onboard our $100K clients through while creating the space to focus on a key model that is emerging:
What exactly is a creator-led company and what makes it different from a traditional studio model? Well, let’s dive in.
What is a Creator-led company?
A creator-led company is a model in which creators nurture and grow their fan communities, then launch their own e-commerce companies to monetize and fuel their creativity.
It’s different from the traditional studio model because it utilizes the connection to the audience to create products that the audience needs to monetize and drive engagement.
In this model, the creator’s community is the primary client, brands are secondary, and digital products reign supreme. In the Creator-led company, the emphasis is placed on creating productized offers versus customization. If you’ve been running yourself wild customizing services for every new client, then this model might also work for you.
A question I’m getting often is how to leverage this model in an existing framework.
It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
It starts with a very simple formula: Community + Value = Commerce
Your community is the center of everything as a creator-led company. This formula applies no matter how you shift it or what your offer is. It has to start with the community.
Throughout this process, you'll lean heavily into your audience to understand their needs, then build solutions that help them achieve their goals. This can be implemented in any type of business, from a photographer offering productize creative direction services to product managers building the solutions of tomorrow.
After you've leaned into your community, delivered the value they need, and developed solutions for their biggest obstacles, you'll unlock controlled commerce by creating and establishing targets to achieve your goals.
I'm going to share the exact process I walked through to build my own creator-led business, utilizing my studio as a launch pad. I've also shared this with others in my Strategic Growth Sessions that I offer monthly. This process takes you through how to extract value from your existing community and reposition your business as a Creator-led company, then scale to $250,000 in revenue in 12 months.
Niche Down, Baby
Don’t make the mistake of creating content for everyone.
You need to get really clear about who you are creating content for & why. Identifying your target audience is a crucial step in creating a growth strategy for your creator-led business. Knowing who you are trying to reach with your content will help you create content that resonates with them and meets their needs. It will also allow you to tailor your marketing efforts to the specific characteristics and preferences of your target audience. By understanding your target audience, you can create content that speaks directly to them and effectively communicates your message.
Here are the main questions you’ll need to ask:
· Who are you trying to reach with your content?
· Who are your products or services most relevant to?
Only create content for them. Everyone else is a distraction.
Show Up for your community
To expand your community, your people need to know where to find you so make it easy for them. Choose two platforms where you know your community will be and make yourself ever-present.
Notice I said choose TWO platforms.
It’s my belief that when you’re starting this shift, spreading yourself across multiple platforms dilutes your message and makes it harder for the right people to find you.
Take the content you’re generating from those two platforms and repurpose it for the others. If you’re writing threads on Twitter you should also be reposting that content on LinkedIn.
If you’re creating videos for TikTok you should also be posting that content on Instagram Reels and YouTube shorts.
Choose Two platforms and show up for your community by providing them with valuable content.
Create Value with your content
As a freelancer or studio owner, you have a wealth of knowledge and there’s someone who can use that knowledge to get them to the next level.
Do you have a proven formula on how to gain your first 10 customers? Learned some sick lessons along the way? Great – start sharing with your community and engaging them in the process. Through conversations and engaging content, you’ll start to piece together the type of singular offer you can provide to solve problems for your audience.
Share value in your content, then package that value and Go-to-market.
Define Your Offer
Defining your offer is a key component to ensuring value for your audience, but it will also determine how much investment you need to make into your audience.
Ask yourself these two questions to unlock your product offer:
What are all the problems your ideal customer is faced with?
How do you solve these problems for them?
Once you answer these questions, formulate your package offering with the biggest solution at the top of your offer list then price out various points from there:
The Top-tier Solution: $10,000
The Mid-Tier Solution: $5,000
The Entry Point Solution: $2,500
Digital Product Solution: $500
Minimum-Viable Engagement: $250
This will help you to identify where your target customer falls on your solution wheel. The goal should be to move prospects through this cycle as they move through your process.
The person entering in at $500 should grow to $10,000 spent over time. How much value you need to create for them and how much investment they’ll need to make throughout the process will be determined by how engaged you are.
Launch + Learn
The final step in any plan is the act of going to market. Don’t spend too long on the ideation phase and forget this step. I do not recommend launching at the highest price point, rather, this model is based on launching with the easiest path and then gradually increasing the points of engagement.
To hit a goal of $250,000 over the next 12 months, you’d need to find the perfect combination of your existing offers.
You could sell 25 top-tier products at $10,000 each but for me, the perfect combination consists of setting targets across all the core services and working backward from there.
To hit a goal of $250,000 in 12 months, you’d need to achieve a goal of $20,833 per month.
To do that, you need to do 1 of the following:
Sell 41 digital products per month @ $500 each
Sell 8 Entry point solutions @ $2,500 + 1 digital product @ $500 per month
Sell & Fulfill 4 mid-tier @ $5,000 + 1 digital product per month @ $500 per month
Sell & Full-fulfill 2 Top-tier solutions @ $10,000 + 1 digital product per month @ $500 per month
You don't need a crazy amount of people in your community to achieve this. You just need to focus on building a community of highly-engaged people who are willing to share with and learn from you.
Listen to them, continue to iterate, and provide the value they need to 10x their output.
That's all for today.
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Book a call to work with me directly to scale your creator-led business or high-growth startup to $150K and beyond.
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Love + Light,