This week, I’m featuring my lovely new friend Ellen Ercolini of EllenErcolini.com. Ellen is a money-making expert for creative pros. For reals. After years of coaching ups and downs, she found that the thing she’s best at is helping you make a better living. And she’s a BOSS at it.
In this week’s interview, Ellen tells us all about how she started making five times more than she used to. Consistently. And without selling ANY body parts.
Take it away, Ellen….
[My comments are in italics.]
Makeness: So, What is the ONE thing you know that you have nailed in your business? Be specific:
Making money! No seriously, stick with me…. I have found the sweet spot of making it EASY for my clients to say yes to me, and I help them do the same thing.
It’s the sweet spot of client needs meets excellent service meets payment that works for BOTH of us.
[I feel like every entrepreneur needs to have that statement tattooed on their forehead. Backward. You know… so they see it when they look in the mirror.]
But just as important as all that, making it easy and simple for your clients to say YES to you and pay you good money. Payment plans with clear systems HELP all that, so, so much.
Makeness: Tell us about all the things you tried that relate to this that DIDN’T work?
Oh my goodness I’ve tried it ALL when it comes to money, ongoing, open-ended monthly payments (my background is in life coaching and this is a really common coaching model), lower priced workbooks and workshops, group programs, 1 day long mastermind. Expensive stuff, $17 stuff, and every price point in-between.
[I definitely don’t want to glaze over this because it’s so SO important. Trying out a million things is part of the entrepreneurial process. We try and fail over and over until we fail less. The trick is to learn how to limit the failure rate in your own way, which is what Ellen has so elegantly done.]
Makeness: What was the catalyst for getting your thing to work really, really well?
I got sick of the feast or famine cycle. I was working with a higher priced offering, that when I sold them I made some good money, but when I didn’t….it was stressful.
Also I realized that I didn’t LIKE doing longer, ongoing business coaching. I am more of a deep tissue massage girl, dig deep, work it out, now go out there and make it happen.
[Knowing how you like to work and how you’re successful is one of the single most important things that separates successful people from unsuccessful ones. I know Ellen and I have both seen dozens and dozens struggle with trying to be and do what they think they are ‘supposed to be and do’ only to wind up broke and worn out. I love that she mentioned this. It’s like the cornerstone of having a grown-up business that has staying power.]
So I got really selfish and created the offering that I wanted to work with, and then looked around at what my clients were really struggling with, and the things that made the biggest differences in businesses as far as I could see, and added those to my package.
So now I do a 3 hour super strategy session, plus my clients work with a guest posting strategist and a copywriter, to get their work OUT THERE and then have their site convert better. They get way more value than I can offer them on my own, and I am working to MY strengths to help THEM make more money.
I set a payment plan that helps me project my income a few months in advance, and they love it because they aren’t forking over $1,500 all at once, but in 2 week increments.
There are still spikes and dips, like normal, but I also know what I am projected to earn 6 weeks into the future, which has given my ulcers a break.
[Good lord… the first time I knew rent was going to be paid three months out, I CRIED I was so happy. That felt like the PINNACLE of success. And I will also note that it was, in fact, due to the fact that I started offering liberal payment plans.]
Makeness: How do you know it’s working?
I know business building can be kind of a Medusa. There are a LOT of moving parts, and most of them need financial investment. I wanted to offer something of a ‘one stop shop’ to my clients – where they could deal with more than one aspect at a time, in a reasonable amount of time.
I was selling ongoing, open ended life and business coaching – with MAJORLY unstable income.
When I created a comprehensive package it more than tripled my monthly income.
I used to charge $300 a month per client, and now I charge $1500 per client, so I am making 5x as much per client AND able to project my income with more accuracy and stability due to payment plans.
[!!!!! FIVE TIMES AS MUCH]
My client and I are no longer fuzzy on the scope of work together – AND they get other amazing services included.
Makeness: What influenced the direction you took ‘the thing’?
It was frustrating to me as a business owner that as soon as I paid for one thing, I felt like I needed to pay for three more things. So I wanted to create something different for my clients, that helps them move farther forward, faster.
[Farther. Forward. Faster. Under-one-roof solutions are my jam. It’s a leaner, cheaper, and DEFINITELY easier way to do business for the client, since instead of explaining their needs to several different service providers, they can say it all once and let a team go to work for them. It’s also how Makeness works. Design, copy, strategy, learning, coaching, all under one roof. It’s faaabulous.]
Makeness: What advice would you give to others who feel like their ‘thing’ isn’t working?
Play with your price point and your payment plans. If people aren’t buying your premium priced thing, I would create new payment plans for it.
I would also really look at how you can create clear, tangible value for people, so that they REALLY get what you’re selling.
And lastly, make sure what you’re selling is how you want to work. Once I got really honest with myself that I LOVE doing longer, one-off calls, it became way easier for me to sell and market, and the clients that I work with love it too. You never know who is waiting for you to create YOUR unique impact on the world.
Makeness: Anything else you think people should know about your thing [as it relates to this topic]?
Paypal makes it easy to set up installment payments. They call it subscriptions. For example, if you want someone to pay you $300 every 2 weeks for a total of $1500, you set up a subscription button, then set it to $300, installment allotment is every 2 weeks, and it ends after 5 installments. It’s really simple and straightforward, and you can stop chasing the invoice payments.
[It really IS simple. And I adore that Ellen just explained something that perplexes people LIKE CRAZY in like four sentences.]
Alternatively, you can run peoples credit cards on your agreed upon dates.
And, as always, make the right business decisions for YOU and your business and your industry. This has worked like gangbusters for me + my creative, online, service based clients. I know it’s not going to be a silver bullet for everyone, and that’s ok.
Makeness: What are you currently promoting in your business?
I have a money making training for entrepreneurs that I am super proud of. It distills what it takes to make more money (really!) into clear, simple, actionable steps. It’s a great place to start if you’re wanting to up your income but feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
Makeness: How would you like readers to reach out to you?
Are you TOTALLY WINNING at something, or know someone who is? Tell us all about it and see your very own story here.
Please note: I have turned off comments on the blog because I have found that we have far more lively conversation inside the Makeness Insider Community on Facebook. If you would like to join us there, consider this your cordial invitation.