Weighing Your Passion vs. Your Profit
By Ali Craig
Starting a brand is rarely a challenge. You have an idea, and you simply go for it. As Sir Richard Branson so famously says, “Screw it. Let’s do it” becomes the motto of most entrepreneurs starting out.
But along the way, the road to building a successful brand gets tough. You wonder if you made the correct decision. Maybe this was not the right idea after all? Doubt begins to flood your brand. You have some success, but you need and desire so much more. Everything those naysayers said about this being a fluke, unsustainable, or a one-hit wonder comes back into your mind. In those moments, your passion freezes and your fear of how in the world are you going to scale this brand rises. You feel like you are left with choosing between your passion and your profit, if you are truly going to make it.
When chatting with thousands of entrepreneurs over the years, as I travel the country speaking at various events, I have found that most people come pre-programmed with the fundamental idea that you can have a business you are ridiculously passionate about, but will not be financially lucrative or you can have a business that makes you money, but does not feed your soul. And though we may view this as being pragmatic and smart business, the truth is this “one way or no way” mentality is killing your brand, business and bottom line.
You see many people start their brands from passion, but when the success does not come fast enough and the sales are not big enough, we begin to switch our focus away from passion and look solely at profit. The truth is you want and need both to scale a brand successfully.
Passion vs. Profit
Building and scaling a brand is a lot of work for a very long time. And, as I always say, branding is a deeply personal experience. Your personal hang-ups, mental blocks and social stories will color your brand more than any situation, financial issue, or societal shift ever could. We hate to admit it, but, when it comes to our brand’s growth, we can be our own worst enemy.
Yes, you need to have the numbers working in your favor, but you also need to be in love with what you do, because building a brand will test you in ways you never thought possible.
Here is the personal test I use with my clients to determine if they have the right brand for them:
If the worst day in your life happens: You lose your partner, pet, every relationship that matters to you, your money goes away, and every deep dark fear that you have all manifests itself at the exact same time, will your personal commitment to what you do and who you serve through this brand still have you showing up and bringing your best to the table that day?
If the answer is yes, then you have the right brand for you.
If you have answered yes to the above question, let’s look at numbers because numbers matter. Numbers do not just matter to your livelihood. Your brand numbers matter to your ability to reach, grow and influence, which is exactly what you want if you are as passion filled as you say you are.
Can you create seven distinct streams of income within this brand? For example, with your coaching business, you can consult, you can speak, you can create a line of inspirational T-shirts, you can build your social media following up enough to become an influencer, you can become a published author, you can create e-products and you can develop a unique coaching method that you certify others in.
All products and services are complimentary to the brand, but they vary with regard to your time, income level and audience reach. For example, selling a T-shirt requires little time on your part, and while it will be a low profit per sale, it can have a wide audience. In contrast, your custom certification program will require a large time commitment from you; it will offer a greater profit and speak to a smaller customer base. This way, as your personal life or business team flexes in size and demands, your income stays on that steady increase. Additionally, by having seven distinct income streams, you are able to provide easy ins for people who are new to your brand, and a variety of offers that withstand highs and lows in the economy.
To build a truly successful and sustainable brand, you must start with passion and make sure the profit streams are clear all along the way. Yes, your brand will evolve as it grows. It must, and you must, if you want to live the success you have been dreaming of.
About Ali Craig – Ali Craig is an international consultant, speaker, three-time best-selling author, television host and brand strategist. Having worked with everyone from industry titans to underdogs, Ali has found that her passion lies in helping small brands take action to make large ideas doable and create an influential brand that shines. With 20 years of branding experience, Ali shares her knowledge across international stages, with national media audiences, and on the Apple TV Brandpreneur show, “Fix My Brand With Ali Craig.” Her Neuro Human Branding method weaves science, psychology, design, and human nature into an easy to apply system that any brand can use to grow their audience’s connections, conversions, and community. Ali’s energy and expertise shine through in her monthly articles in EmpiHER Magazine, and guest contributions in the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, and The New York Daily News. Ali is a sought-after branding expert and can regularly be seen on television shows across the country, as well as features in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.
Ali Craig is taking your branding questions for our next issue. If you have a question that you would like Ali to answer, please send it to email@example.com. If we print your question, you will receive special swag from Las Vegas Woman.