I was visiting with a guy the other day who is a decamillionaire. No, not one of those kids posing in front of a fancy car, just a quiet older business owner I know from my days of serving on a board of directors for a local bank.
I'm not going to share his real name because he's not someone who enjoys the spotlight, so let's call him James. There are hints that James has money if you know what to look for, but he's not one of those who flaunts his wealth.
It struck me that James has virtually no social media presence. He's just a highly successful local business owner and an all-around nice guy. It's the same with many successful business owners I know.
You Don't Need Tons of Followers to Have a Successful Business
I look at all the gurus out there preaching how to make money online by ramping up your follower counts, getting engagement, posting 100 times a day, giving stuff away, and I have to shake my head.
I've racked up tens of thousands of followers and subscribers, hacked posts until I landed on the front page of Reddit…twice, given away stuff, and secured the number one position on Google for various topics.
Know how much all of that earned me?
Let me rephrase that, do you know how much all of that COST me?
I don't want to think about it…
To Have a Successful Business, Sell Stuff. Don't Chase Followers.
Having a big following or giving away a bunch of stuff does not necessarily translate to making money.
Yes, giving away stuff can help you get leads, and having a following can build trust for potential clients, but you need to SELL things to have a successful business.
Local business owners everywhere already know this.
My offline business generates enough revenue to pay an entire team very well year after year with zero giveaways and practically no online presence. But I see people making the mistake of thinking if they just keep giving away free stuff or getting more followers that business will turn around all the time.
How Many Followers Do the Businesses You Buy From Have?
Think about the things you buy every day. What was the last purchase you made?
How many followers does that business have?
Do you know?
Do you care?
Sell Things People Want to Buy
What you need to sell are things that people want to buy. Things that will help them, entertain them, or that they need or want. People go to my coaching page, read all the testimonials, sign up for a free discovery call, and proceed to pay me thousands of dollars to help them with their business.
Here's the kicker.
Many of those customers have never heard of me before clicking on an ad and hiring me on the first call to help their business!
They don't care about how many followers I have; they only want to know if I can help them achieve their goals. Once they fully believe I can help, then they are happy to hire me.
Obviously you need to build trust with your potential clients somehow, but you don't need a bazillion followers to sell stuff. It does get easier of course once you have some social proof, but it's not required.
Giving a Stranger Money Seems Silly, Yet We Do it Every Day
Someone commented on one of my posts the other day, “Why would I give a stranger on the Internet I've never met money?”
Think about that one for a minute.
Most people would say they wouldn't give a random stranger on the Internet that they've never met money. That's crazy talk. Right?
Yet we do it all the time!!!
How many times have you walked into a store or found something you liked online and whipped out your wallet to buy it? I wonder how many followers the cashier you just handed your credit card to has?
I just swiped my card at Casey's to buy a drink & a snack a few minutes ago. I have no idea who the owner of Casey's is, or at least I didn't until I googled it and figured out Don Lamberti was the founder. I never heard the name before today, yet I spend hundreds of dollars every month there.
I bought some stuff off Amazon the other day. No idea who that seller is; I just know the product had some good reviews. We spend money with strangers every day, yet somehow think that customers need to know us personally to buy from us.
You Don't Need to Be Famous to Run a Successful Business
In my regular business (which is significantly more profitable than my coaching and blogging hobby), customers rarely even talk to me these days. They talk to our sales reps who sell them stuff, then our operations and technical team take care of them from there. I'm in the background planning, ensuring everything runs smoothly, adjusting processes, hiring & training people, and dealing with exceptions, not on the front lines like when I started.
That's the same thing James did to become a highly successful business owner. He got the ball rolling with a lot of hard work selling stuff to people they wanted to buy, but then gradually faded into the background as he created a real business.
If you want to run a successful business, create or find products and services that people want to buy. Then sell those at a price point that makes it a win for both you and your customer.
About the Author
Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.
What can I learn/know right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life?
What are some of the most useful things to know in life that I can learn right now in 10 minutes? 1.
In Soccer or Life, Take Your Shot!
I'm still an avid soccer player, although I'm well past my prime. One difference that has become obvious to me over the
Live a Better Life in 2 Minutes a Day
How many times have you wished that you could DO a little better? BE a little better? Read on, I guarantee this
20 Powerful Facebook Marketing Tips
Regardless of what kind of business you are running, it is safe to say that your target audience is on Facebook. Why
How to Avoid Social Media Stress
2021 is a new year. You don't want to begin it by being aggravated. You don't want to spend it being annoyed.
4 Roles That Could Help You Achieve Your Dream of Becoming a Psychologist
If your dream career involves supporting and helping others with their mental health, working as a psychologist could be perfect for you.
If You Hate Your Job, Change
It's sad sometimes to hear people complaining about their job all the time. Monday rolls around, and they are grumbling about going
Book of the Month: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
Is it possible to create a life where you only work 4 hours a week yet make more money than you do
How The Right Team Can Have A Positive Impact On A Company
The recipe for a successful business can vary depending on the industry. However, there are key ingredients that can help to make
Are You Investing in Your Career or Business?
Most of us contribute faithfully to our retirement plan each paycheck. But have you considered that there may be much better investment
Why Starting Something New is Often Painful
I've started many groups over the years. An online Toastmasters club where people become better speakers, business owners' groups, church groups, pick
What is the best career path for me?
If you haven't found your passion in life yet and wonder how to decide on which career track you should start down,