Issue #380

The Key To Raising Your Income

What I’m going to say in this article may be just a reminder to many. Some get it already.

See, we all want to make more money. And it is really easy to focus on that word “more”.

To make more money, you do MORE of what you are already doing. Sell MORE stuff. Get MORE traffic. Make MORE products. Do MORE. Work MORE.

But, instead of just doing MORE of what you’re already doing, why not do something more valuable to begin with?

For instance, let’s say there’s a tutor. That tutor offers tutoring services to grade school kids. She wants to make more money. Naturally, more tutoring clients. More hours in the chair, right?

But, tutoring has a pretty defined VALUE to that service. In most areas, charging $40-$50 per hour is considered pretty “high end”. Most tutors charge less than that. So, there’s a pretty thick ceiling to how high that particular service will go. You can raise your rates somewhat, but it quickly gets to a point where your only choice is just more hours in the chair. And the day is only so long.

That service is WORTH a certain amount. It is tough to go much higher without the market ignoring you.

I’ve seen tutors who make more money, but they do it by focusing on a higher-value problem. For instance, more advanced material. Career-oriented exam preparation. They focus on solving a problem where the pain of not passing that exam would mean a major setback in their career. Solving THAT problem is worth much more to the person. It is a higher-grade problem than some grade school kid having an issue with their geometry.

I recently talked to somebody who wanted to offer downloadable piano lessons online. And she would like to turn that into a nice size online business. I talked to her about the potential of doing live, interactive lessons. And my thought was this…

How much is a downloadable song really worth? Essentially nothing, in reality. You can get them for free all day long. Even if a training video came with that song, that kind of content has been completely commoditized online. It isn’t worth much – if anything. In our area, however, an in-person piano lesson might go for around $25 for a half hour. Why? It is simply a higher-value offer. Getting the instructor’s time in person is more more valuable than an MP3 file. Even then, however, the value of a piano lesson is only so much. The pain of not playing piano very well is, to most people, not that big a deal.

To make more money, you need to increase your price. 2 ways of going about this are:

  • Solve the problem in a more direct, concrete way. Higher value because it is being solved faster and with less work involved.
  • Solve a higher-value, higher-pain problem.

We make money – all of us – by solving a problem for other people. That’s the value we offer, whether by way of an online business or a regular job. And the amount of money we make is pretty proportional to the VALUE of having solved that problem. How much is that solution worth?

It is why I giggle when I see kids come out of college with stupid liberal arts degrees and then lament having a hard time finding work. They might have majored in history, fine arts, psychology, or something similar. And unfortunately often racked up big college debts to do it. Then, in many cases, have a hard time finding a job or end up doing something completely different.

Yet, a plumber or carpenter can fairly easily make six figures these days. Without any college necessary. Why?

It is a higher value, more concrete problem. Everybody NEEDS plumbing or carpentry services at some point. Most people don’t have much need for somebody who can discuss fine arts with them or recite dates in European history.

Funny how college education, in many ways, has a similar problem to online information. It is grossly inflated. With colleges, society has trained people to think college is necessary, so kids are going to school, racking up massive debts, and often getting stupid degrees that mean nothing to anybody. And with online information, you see so many people pumping out online courses. The result is that it has lowered the real VALUE of both. While college education is still wildly expensive, it isn’t worth what they charge. It is a racket, really. And having a college degree doesn’t mean nearly what it used to anymore. And with online courses, the actual value of these things has dropped.

If more of those kids went to trade school rather than an academic college, they wouldn’t have any problem finding a job. And they’d likely make way more money. Why? Because they’re solving a more direct, concrete problem that people actually need. It’s simple.

And with the information marketing world, well…

Have you noticed how I have been doing web services lately? After years of not doing much client work and focusing on online courses, I decided to get more into client services. I still do the other stuff, but client work has taken center stage and now occupies much of my schedule.

Why do this?

It is a more concrete problem that I can solve for people in a direct way. And it is a higher-VALUE problem to solve. In a world where the perceived value of online courses just dwindles and you have to work harder and harder to create and market them, it just makes sense to shift the focus a bit.

So, point is….

The way to make more money isn’t always to just do MORE of what you’re already doing.

Your income will be proportional to the VALUE of the problem you solve, combined with the SPEED you solve it for people.

Sometimes, this means taking on clients and doing what you were already doing, but in a more direct way.

Sometimes, this means you need to raise your game, get the training and know-how… and learn to solve a higher-value problem. Something that is worth more and alleviates a bigger pain for your customer.

Solve bigger problems, make more money.

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