"What do you do?"
It was maybe the 20th time I'd been asked that question since walking into the Global Writes Partner Summit. My good friend and fellow author, JoAnn Takasaki, had pulled together all of her vendors and partners and contractors so we could all meet and greet in one place. I had about fifty things booked for that same time on the same day, and almost didn't go. Now I'm ecstatic that I did.
"I help people build or grow authority businesses," I said, for maybe the 20th time. I explained that I work with entrepreneurs who want to build careers around their passion and expertise—people like consultants, speakers, coaches, and authors. I explained how I almost always start by helping them write or finish a book. I talked about how I have a network of affiliate partners who can do ... well ... anything. I told them that I add my "clients" to that list, so they can benefit from being a part of that network. Basically, it's this self-propagating organism that grows by helping others grow.
And I told them how I have this crazy plan—I want my business model to be "help people become crazy wealthy and successful as quickly as possible." Help people build something that makes them feel Christmas-morning excited when they get up every day. Help people create something they're passionate about, so they can go out and help other people do something amazing, too. Basically, I want my business model to be "Love others as you'd love yourself." And that involves a whole lot of connecting as many people as possible to as many more people as possible, and helping any way I can.
This isn't an easy business. It's just about the hardest kind of business there is. To some people, it's a completely counter-intuitive and maybe even counter-productive way to operate. How do you make money, if all you're doing is connecting people and helping everyone build their own business? "Do you charge for consulting?"
Yes, sometimes. More often, I do the "consulting" for free and take a cut of the revenue from the business I generate for someone else. I connect someone to a web developer, for example, and that developer pays me a cut of the profits from the web project that comes out of it. Referral fees. Affiliate relationships.
Is it stable? Sometimes. Sometimes I wonder where the money actually comes from, because it can feel like magic. Sometimes God just blesses me with a check out of nowhwere. That's how it feels. I don't remember doing anything for that particular entrepreneur, but they sent me a referral fee anyway. And I'm always grateful for it! And I always make sure to send them more business as I can.
My business—the business of helping people build or grow their authority business—is kind of "wiggly." Kind of hard to define. Kind of tough to predict. And I love it.
I refine this as I go. I iterate. I evolve. I take wise counsel when I can find it, and I change. I pivot. I can do that, because my real business is me. I'm the brand. I'm the resource. I'm the thing I'm evolving and growing.
Is it scalable? Can it grow beyond me? I think so. I'm already looking at ways to do just that. I'm building products, writing books, creating stand-alone systems that can create income without my direct input all the time.
I'm still defining who I am as an entrepreneur, but that shouldn't be surprising. An entrepreneur defines himself (or herself) for a living. We build a business because we love the challenge and excitement of it, and because we want to see some profit from it. But we don't stop with just that one venture. We can't. We have to iterate. We have to evolve.
The people I met at that summit are all fantastic. They have an energy that fuels me. I want to find a way to help everyone I met there succeed beyond anything they ever though was possible. That's my business model. That's a day in a Wordslinger's life.