Business Models. WTF Is Mine, anyway?

Oct 11

Money that's not in my pocket; not this week, anyway. I’ve been on the web since 1996, and earned at least little bits of money most years.  Even when it was really unfashionable to earn anything, even when hosting was stupid expensive.

But I’ve never made a lot of money.

Why Not?

I saw the trends, saw the openings, successfully identified the next bandwagons, knew exactly what Thing I could do that would have made decent income and possibly exploded into rockstar ninja status. But I didn’t do it.

I didn’t do the Thing, because I didn’t have whatever combination I imagined it would take to make it work.

I didn’t always identify that combination correctly – I’ve blamed it on insufficient skills, cashflow, time, whatever. Of course, one can never have enough skills, cash, or time for a startup business of any size, so there’s no sense in waiting for them.

The *actual* missing factors in my world?  Support, confidence, comfort levels with whatever was required to get it done. THAT was what was stopping me, and honestly? They’re pretty good reasons.

But now, I’m finally at that a place of confidence that I’m certain I can DO this thing, and that thing, and the other thing.

I’m comfortable with my skill level, my abilities, my own vision.

And the support? It’s out there, in droves.  Yeah, ok, lots of it is pay-to-play support, and the good stuff ain’t cheap, baybee… but even with that, I’m sure I could work out a deal for the support if I need to.

I even have a niche. It’s a developing niche, which hasn’t quite identified itself yet, sure, but I see it there, finding itself, staring in the mirror, adjusting its hat just so, buying new accessories and stuff.

And I did a business plan, but it’s shifting as I go, as I find new problems and issues and… stuff.

Here’s The New Problem.

So many of the things I know how to do? Those things I coulda/shoulda/didn’t do 1-5-10 years ago? Yeah. I’m not so sure they’ll work so well now.

Seriously, Google ads quit working eons ago, and they were always ugly, anyway.

Affiliate ads are not the money makers they once were, because people are TIRED of having stuff hawked at them. I’m tired of it too, so I get it.  Even the trusted big wigs whose words I used to hang on? Yeah. I’m over it. You quit writing your own blog, I quit buying other people’s stuff you insist is good.

The other problem with affiliate stuff? I love writing honest reviews, but I’m tired of having people question my motives.  Like, seriously, folks.  Stoppit.  I can’t afford to play Consumer Reports, but that doesn’t mean I’m not honest and sincere.

Selling ad space on my own, or through a network?  I dunno. I’ve never really investigated it much. I’ve sold space on my own, once, and I felt guilty for not helping him sell more of his product.  It wasn’t healthy for me. I had Adsense eons ago, and I think Google still owes me $50 bucks.

Which Leaves Original Content.

Which is tough, too. Membership sites, e-courses? Done it. I get it. I like it,but… It’s not quite the right time for that,  either, not for me, not in my comfort zone.  People are worn out from recurring fees,  I sense another shift coming, and it takes so much darn work to build a course/forum. I’m not really willing to risk the investment if it doesn’t work.

Ebooks, ecourses, teleseminars, omg I’m freaking over-whelmed. This past month was an orgy of launches for both large and small products, and there’s sure to be fallout, people who get disappointed in their results and just quit.

Plus, a lot of these products? Yeah. They really should be freebies.  Not because I begrudge their authors earning a living, but because these things won’t earn them a living… and the content for so many of them seems like they’d be better as a foot-in-the-door thing, not the main course of a purchased meal.

Coaching? I’m so not a coach.

Seriously. Not.

Could I charge people to talk to me, help them with problems and issues and ideas and… stuff? Sure.  Honestly, I think I’d be brilliant at it, and I’ve always sworn I should be paid for just being me, which is what this is, really. But I’m not clear yet, how it would work. And I have off days, when I just don’t function well; I’m afraid of having appointments booked on those days.

So I’m Thinking Of Going A Different Way.

Striking out on a new path.  Seeing where it goes.  I have a few new ideas, brewing in my head.

If I do this, follow these ideas?  The result will be unlike anything I’m aware of out there.  It will still fall roughly in line with the above models, but will incorporate nearly everything I know and am – writing, art, soul-delving, mirroring, metaphors, spiritual muckity stuff.  It will be very, very scary.

And that’s what might just make it work.

The question is… do I have the support, confidence and comfort I need to make it through the scary, before someone else fires up the bandwagon, and the seats are all sold out?

I think so.

Because for the first time, I’m centered.  Centered in who I am, centered in my body, my world, centered in this niche that I see, and … yeah.

Being centered helps with everything.

So that’s WTF my business model is.

Please stay tuned.

And give me a hug, if you would?

So hey, you there, about to comment?

Yes, I know that “staying centered” isn’t a real business model. Yes, I have an actual business model, but the words to describe it are incredibly boring, and I refuse to subject you to them, or dwell on the boring, myself. Because it’s BORING.

But apparently, I’m not opposed to cussing via acronyms .  WTF?  Can you deal with it just this once, and  get on with the hugging thing, please? (You can comment on more than hugs, of course. Just no lectures on what a business model is, or complaints about cussing acronyms. Though if your own acronyms would like to cuss, that’s ok, too. )


  1. hugs to you miss!

  2. Robbin Skinner /

    (((((((Hugs)))))))) I like your plan! 😀

  3. ((((((HUGS))))))

  4. For me, usually the thing that scares me the most is what I need to do next. So excited to hear more!

  5. Yeah!!
    Being centred may not be a business model, but without that, there’s no point even having a business model. So GOOD FOR YOU!!!
    And acronym cussing? I’ve done it – on my home page, no less. Never apologise ;-p
    You’ve got all the support – right here, cheering you on, look! and we’re only the visible tip of the iceberg – to keep your confidence going and provide the comfort you need when they wobble. And you’ll make it through the scary because you know it’s right for you and you couldn’t anything else anyway.
    What’s more, if someone else fires up the bandwagon? THEY WON’T BE YOU. It won’t be the same. The seats – YOUR seats – will not sell out.

    We’ll be sitting in the front row, grinning and clapping, ok? xoxoxoxoxoxox

  6. Thoughtful post – I agree that things are different now and the direction forward isn’t at all clear. It’s good to see these vague nagging thoughts that keep tagging me have company.

    Good luck with your new way.

    BTW, staying centered might not be a whole business model, but it sure makes a great foundation for one 🙂

  7. OMG! Can you read minds, Tori?!?! I have been having the exact same conversation with myself for the past 3 months. Almost verbatim.

    I also have been miffed about these marketing ploys that so-called “marketing gurus” keep throwing at me. I went through these spurts of subscribing to all of them in the hopes I would find that “secret” nugget of information I needed to finally make my business millions of dollars. And then I would realize how draining and stupid those newsletters are and I would unsubscribe to them only to re-subscribe to them (and some new ones) a month later when I was feeling down. It’s like binge drinking without the buzz and I think even more self-loathing.

    Anyway, I am right there with you. I just watched a video from Seth Godin on about things that are broken. Toward the end he talks about how marketing is broken. You should watch it..

    I think this whole marketing thing is a lot like losing weight. We want the quick fix. We want to lose 100 pounds in one week and not have to give up pizza or chocolate to do it. But the reality is that doing the hard, slow thing is the only thing that will get us down to a healthy, sustainable size. People don’t want to be told that it will take them 10 years to be profitable. So we are inundated with those “lucky” few (or couple) who actually became profitable in 1 or 2 years. But if you look at history it’s the business that grew slowly that are still around and doing well.

    I think the biggest human condition to overcome when talking about growing a business is the fact that we are impatient and want to move at the speed of light. That’s why I developed the Sane & Satisfied approach to business. We start our own businesses so we can “live the life of our dreams on our own terms” but we end up forcing the process so much that we forget to live our dreams and live on our own terms.

    This turned into a much longer post than I had planned. If you are still with me, thank you. And this is a great subject to talk about. One that I think more of us Authentic Entrepreneurs should talk about more often and more loudly.

    Thanks, Tori, for the great post.

  8. Tori Deaux /

    Have I told you all lately how much you rock? Thank you for all the hugs and support and me-too-isms. That helps, a lot.

    The hardest part of this post really was not removing that WTF in the title. I rewrote it a dozen times, but NOTHING else seemed right, so it stayed, and no one really cares. Take THAT, monsters-in-my-head!

    And Sara…. please ramble as much as you like here. You made great points, I’ll check out the TED link, and I’m hardly the queen of brevity myself!

    And you’re right. There is no “one way” and no “quick fix”. Success almost always takes time and great effort, and overnight success online is no more likely than overnight success with music, acting or playing author. The instant stars put in hard work AND got really lucky. They’re an inspiration, but even in the early days of the web, they weren’t the rule.

    Anyway.. thanks again 🙂

    • Andrea J. Phillips /

      It’s possible that sms-speak will be my first blog post. (And I would love to have the Circus come visit so I’m not on stage playing to an empty house!) Love the cussing in acronyms bit–so true! Er, SFT!

  9. Hi Tori, been awhile!

    I agree, although I haven’t been on the net as long, I’m also feeling the effect of redundant strategies – although Google ads still has moderate success for me!

    My new area focuses on syndication rather than creating, creating is tiring and I was only adding to the information overlord that already exists. Therefore I took up problem solving and decided to solve the problem of information overlord in self improvement at least. I’m not 100% efficient yet but I’d like to be and it’s working, slowly.

    Selling ad spaces on my site would be the best thing as revenue in my opinion. Affiliates, courses etc don’t fit for me. But I’m looking forward to your new idea. Good luck and have fun!


  10. Andy dolph /

    First of all *hug*

    I think moving from centeredness is actually a great business model – or at least the critical star to navigate by. I believe that what we are looking for is real connection to real people and that doesn’t happen in a packaged, plastic encased, polished, marketed world.

  11. Andrea J. Phillips /

    Sorry I couldn’t comment with a HUG earlier–I’m trying out the iPhone app Pulse (I think it’s kind of like an RSS reader …?), which allows me to read and share articles, but not comment, at least on yours. I’ll ask them about it; you may want to as well to see if it’s something you could change on your end to allow it.

    Anyway … I loved what you’re “selling” as soon as I visited your site, even when it wasn’t clear whether or not you were selling anything at all!

    I’ll be first in line.

  12. Maureen /

    (((Hug))) I like your business model. 🙂
    I think I went down that path a couple of years ago. I mean I’m a certified coach but it was more of a marketing job than a coaching job. Too much like teaching. Teaching is 80% admin and 20% teaching. Coaching is 80% marketing and 20% coaching.
    So now I’m doin’ cool stuff in the non-profit sector. I’ve started a HUGE project and I’m soooo excited about it. Now THAT is my niche for sure.
    And I don’t have to coax myself to work on it. You gotta love that!

  13. Elissa /

    Well, if you can have a circus AND be centered? That’s doing pretty darn great. It doesn’t have to be worldstopping to be great. This is already great.
    Looking forward to the next act in the ring.

    Or just yell, look! peanuts! Point the other direction and run if it’s overwheming, and by the time we’re back, you’ll have done a costume change and ta da! On with the show.


  14. Hmmm… circuses all have center rings, right? So, your being centered as a business model makes perfect sense and ties in perfectly with your circus metaphor (in my head anyway). Centered in the Center Ring. Yay!

    Also, hug.


  15. I absolutely agree with you–the model is getting kind of tired and thin on valuable content. So, we may all have to actually go back to working for a living. Ha!

    What I love about your blog and work is the beautiful visual aspect combined with the thoughtful and honest content.

    I don’t know if it will pay off in dollars, but I think you should combine more of the visuals with the words. Different things resonate with different people and, if you like creating the imagery, it might (might!) become your Claim to Fame.

  16. Wow, how did I get so behind on responses?

    @Craig! Yay, Craig found my new home. Yippee! (I seem to be a bit saner now. Maybe)

    @Andrea: Thanks for the hug 🙂 If the problem with Pulse doesnt turn up on any other sites, please let me know, and I’ll try and figure it out.

    @Maureen, oh I can so see you excelling in a non-profit environment. Much more you. I’m excited for ya 🙂

    @Elissa, I love love LOVE the idea of yelling “LOOK, PEANUTS!” as a distraction from my overwhelm periods. In fact, that might become the title of a regular feature. Sorta like…remember Havi’s post about the train bell? I’ll have to go find that one again.

    @Larissa: It’s not just in your head. The center ring and main tent pole of the circus has a lot of spiritual-metaphor meaning to me. 🙂

    @Marie! You hit on part of my nefarious plan. I want to combine more hand drawn imagery with information, and make it available in a number of ways. It’s sooo time consuming though, and I’ve got to work out either a better way of digitizing it, or change what’s a very central part of my style so it’s easier to photograph. That’s the current speedbump in the road.

    Thanks everyone for the support and vision and ideas. You are the BEST circus goers in the world!

  17. I came back after meeting you to read this again because I loved it so much. So major **HUGS** to you!

    Totally agree with everyone else: being centered is a great eff-ing business model. Once the center is outta whack – bam!

    This month, I think is my last of e-courses and marketing ‘wisdom’. Sara hit the nail on the head with: “we end up forcing the process so much that we forget to live our dreams and live on our own terms”.

    I need to remember that.

    You rock Tori.

  18. I love reading posts like this. I have been struggling with some of the same things myself and sometimes kicking myself for not starting things sooner. Why the hell did I wait?

    My WTF biz plan is I have no real plan. lol. I want to go with the flow, do what I enjoy and see where it gets me, hopefully to the

    I’ll be back to read again. HUGS

    • Tori Deaux /

      I think going with the flow works for a lot of us.

      It’s good to have an idea where we’re going, of course, and at least vague thoughts of how to get there. But some types of planning definitely get in the way of some times of people. Like me. And, apparently, you!