Why You Won’t Be A Millionaire Straightaway (And That’s A Good Thing).
Have you ever heard of a ‘Ten-Bob Millionaire’?
A great friend of mine lives in Yorkshire in the North of England. We were catching up on the phone one evening and ended up talking about the amount of people we see driving flashy cars, yet live in tiny houses.
These people are known up North as ’Ten-Bob Millionaires’. (‘Bob’ is a British slang term for pound or dollar.)
'Ten-Bob Millionaire’ is like a curse that’s hard to escape. People with not much money waste it on what doesn’t matter, all for the sake of keeping up appearances and trying to appear wealthier than they are.
'Who are they kidding?’ I said to my friend.
‘How can they afford it? Why not spend that money on trying to afford a bigger house?’
Whether I felt jealous or threatened, I am not sure, but I certainly was puzzled. Why do we humans want to show that we have more than we actually have? Why do we have to ‘keep up with the Jones’s (or at least try to do so)?
I’ve met many businesses-owners who feel jealous of competitors who appear to be doing better than them.
Other people who sell the same product or service as you might have a flashy car or talk about how many clients they have or how many products they’ve sold, and do expensive-looking YouTube ads. But most of the time, it’s a façade: a ten-bob millionaire who’s only telling you half their story.
These Ten-Bob Millionaires can make us feel a bit crud.
We feel like we’re failing and so we feel we have to be like them: appear that we’re doing better than we are, with more clients, customers, a pipeline full of business and squillions of money in the bank.
Yet, the opposite is almost always true.
If you look closer, many of these ten-bob millionaires are in fact also struggling to get attention from enough customers, let alone enough sales that they need. I mean, how many times do you see on social media a company that’s promoting like hell and trying to sound successful, but only get Facebook likes and comments from the same people (and one of those is usually their mum)?
When you look at how hard it can be in the early days of running any business to get just one customer through the door, it’s no surprise that this apparent ‘social media success’ is just a veneer.
The truth is that many businesses act like ten-bob millionaires in front of customers to try and make that elusive sale happen.
But even if people fall for this façade and sign up, it doesn’t mean that they will come back. It doesn’t mean that they’ll spread the word about how good you are either.
What is needed instead is for businesses to be open and honest with customers.
Tell them, for example, that you are just starting up, that you have only have a few customers right now, your product is only a few months old, or that your homepage isn’t the best it can be right now, but you’re working on it.
People I work with like that kind of realism, because it makes a company feel more human to them and more trustworthy.
Clients are good at knowing that a flashy car or loads of money in a bank doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you’re doing. If anything, being real shows that you’re on your clients’ side and aren’t out to steal their money.
I’ll be honest here too.
I don’t earn millions by any stretch, yet I for someone who only recently set up their own business, I earn a decent enough amount to support a soon-to-be family of five on my own. We get by, we do well enough, but in the early days of any business it’s always going to be hard, unless you have a big team and money behind you to get you earning quickly.
However, what I focus on is creating the right results for my clients.
I focus on showing clients how to market themselves in better ways rather than tell them how much I earn or how gold my mansion is.
For example, I tell them that I can help them:
write a 700-word article in one hour.
create their own podcast
write a great sales page
write an outstanding presentation for a webinar or live event
find a uniqueness for what they sell
create a 12-month marketing strategy
pinpoint what customers really want (not what they say they want)
Blah blah blah.
Ok, so in spite of that quasi-sales-pitch to you right there, what I am really saying is that I have the skills to teach you how to get the result you need, i.e. more customers. But I am not being a ten-bob millionaire and telling you how much I earn or how many customers I have. Why should that matter to you?
And before you can start to earn money, you need the right skills to get your business off the ground. Whether you own these skills yourself (which I’d recommend) or you outsource them to someone else (do this only if you have to), you still need them in place before you can deliver a service or product that works.
Why is that?
Because your skills will get you the right results for your customers. When you consistently give customers a great result through what you sell, that’s when the money starts to come in. When you deliver the result customers want, the more they come back and the more people they tell. And once more people that know you and trust you, the more they buy and the more case studies and testimonials you have. The momentum takes over.
This is especially true when starting a business or if you are struggling with an existing business.
Despite how hard it might be, your only focus at the start should be on providing outstanding results to a very small set of clients. Money doesn’t matter so much at this stage. It’s more about putting your skills to the test, to prove that you can get the result that you promise for customers.
Once you have the skills to get the right result for your customers, then you have a proven product or service that works on a small scale, which means it can work on a larger too.
As you spend those weary hours finding new customers, remember to ignore those stories of ‘success’ that you see online.
You know what I mean. Those stories where people use clever-sounding but empty words like ‘pivot’, ‘hustle’, ‘hack' or ’tribe’ before throwing in some dubious case-study of a business that makes $20,000 a month and only took 3 months to get there.
Ignore these nonsense stories, because most of the time, they truly are nonsense.
We don’t know what huge sacrifices were probably made to get there. Did they work for 52 weeks without a day off? Did they break up with their partners to focus on their business? How many friends did they alienate? Did they suffer from anxiety and depression during the process? (Yes, that happens a lot).
Importantly: when you hear about how much money they made, are they talking about net profit?
Are they telling you about the money in their back account after all costs? Or are they only telling you how much revenue they earned, but did not include costs like advertising spend or retailer margins of 12% that mean that they were actually running at a loss?
When you meet businesses in real life, away from the click-bait headlines, you get a different and more honest point of view.
Growing a business is always hard and overnight successes rarely happen. It usually takes years of getting it wrong, and sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. It sounds cold and unglamorous, but it’s real.
That’s why you need to focus on building your skills so you can get the right results for your customers.
Without skills, you can’t get good results for your clients. It doesn’t matter how much you show people how rich you are. All that they want is to know that you can get them great results that will grow their business. Whether you have a Ferrari or drive around in an old banger, it doesn’t matter.
So, why not be honest with your current customers?
Tell them what you’re really good at, but also don’t be shy to say that you only have a small email list or that you have 27 Facebook fans.
People like your realism, people like your true story.
People don’t like perfection and papering over the cracks with BS stories about how much you’ve earned or why you’re the next best thing.
Leave those Ten-Bob Millionaires to delude themselves.
Focus instead on improving your skills and getting the best results you can for your customers. The more great results you deliver, the more customers you’ll get. Maybe one day you can write your success story about how you afforded a gold mansion and pet panther (if that’s what you’re into), but it will be a story built on truth and not smoke and mirrors.
That’s me done for today. Thank you for reading.
PS. If you enjoyed this, why not read our eBook The Wasp Trap about how to create the first five lines of a sales page that will get customers staying on your site, and not bouncing away. Click here to read.