June 12

The Biggest Lesson I’ve Learned About Building A Successful Business


I used to just sell stuff.  More precisely, I used to come up with product ideas for the sole purpose of getting the highest conversions and profits possible.  Those were the things that were most on my mind when I created products to sell on the web in the beginning, over 15 years ago.

I didn’t know about the idea of building a business based on service.  And I didn’t think much  about how what I was selling would truly help those who bought it.  I was simply going off the premise that the web is a great place to make money by creating things people wanted, and not necessarily what they needed.

People who have a “selling mindset” think only about dollars and cents.  And sales copy.  And conversion.  People who come from a place of serving their market think about those things too, just in a different order.

When you think about serving to the best of your ability first, by sharing what you know and creating products and content that have the best interests of your audience at heart, you are actually building a real service-based business.  Not true when putting the sales and profit ahead of your customers’ needs.  You don’t have to serve to be successful.  But many people, including me, can’t be happy in such an environment no matter how good the money is.

women-menThis is why I think fewer women share the spotlight on stages at marketing conferences.  In my experience, women seem to come from and identify with a service mindset in business.  Once it gets to a profits-above-all-else mentality, most women lose interest and seek another way to do business.  Which means they don’t have to get on a stage and do the carnival barking required to succeed in a selling-first business.  Or create and run a business that puts hard sales above service.  It’s just a theory. I’d love to hear what women think about it in your comments below!


A lot of people, including me 15 years ago, would react to this service-first idea with distrust.  But the bottom line is that money follows anything that puts customers’ needs above the needs of the business.  It doesn’t do this some of the time.  Money follows service EVERY time, without fail.  And the person at the helm of such a business is always more fulfilled and happy with what they do for a living.


Once I’d learned this lesson, and it wasn’t fully learned until the last couple of years, my business broke out of the selling mindset and started making a lot more… sales.  The sales have been different though.  Because of new respect and authority generated by a service-oriented business model, I’m selling products that cost thousands and tens of thousands of dollars.

Solve The Want, Then Address Need, And You’re In A Service-First Business

a service based business

Sometimes you have to offer people what they want before you can give them what they need.  This is simply because they often have a shallow understanding of the problem they have.  In order to get a prospective customer’s attention in the first place, you must come to them with the words they are using to describe their problem, along with the product or content they want at that moment, to solve it.

And once you’ve given them what they want, with a message that opens them up to what they truly need crafted into it, then you are serving to the best of your ability.  By taking them on a problem-solving journey that actually gets their problem solved, in a two-step process that meets them where they are in their awareness and takes them where they really need to go.

When I was only giving people what they thought they wanted, I was selling $47-$97 courses and memberships.  When I started to truly serve my market, I added consulting, coaching, and services that cost $5000 to $15,000+.  My market loves  it because they are getting their problems solved rather than an endless stream of “shiny object” products that never quite get them where they want to go.

And business has never been better…  

I still think about sales, copy, and conversion.  I just do it in the proper order.  The copy has changed and gotten far easier to write.  Conversion is not a problem because I understand my market so much more deeply than before.  And sales have never been better.

Learn more about building a business with a heart at Motivation to Profit!

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