Alex Okell

How you can make 1:1 by invitation only

Are you ready to make 1:1 by invitation only? Being able to take time away from work and strike a better work-life balance is on many entrepreneurs’ wishlists. So let’s get into it, what does By Invitation Only mean?

This is a transcript of episode 1 of the By Invitation Only Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

What does 1:1 by invitation only mean?

The idea of By Invitation Only came about because I support purpose-led businesses to make more income and more impact online without adding more Zoom calls to their calendar. So many incredible business owners who are experts in their industry really struggle once their calendar is fully booked to take their business to the next level in terms of income, and subsequently, the time they have for their life outside of their business.

We start our own businesses because we ultimately want to be our own boss, but so often, I have made this mistake before too, we become the worst boss we’ve ever had – and it’s so counterproductive! We shoehorn ourselves into long hours with back-to-back calls, and worry when we take time off because we know money isn’t flowing in. We feel physically and mentally drained at the end of the day and don’t give our clients our 100%.

And we started our businesses because we wanted to help and support people. And I know you truly believe in your message and want to impact even more people – but you can’t see the woods from the trees when you’re bogged down in client work non-stop.

How to start making 1:1 by invitation only

The idea of By Invitation Only is to have a business that has multiple revenue streams, not just income from 1:1 work, via routes like an expansive product suite with digital products, group programmes, VIP days etc., income from content creation via sponsorships or advertisements, affiliate marketing income from referrals, or even income from speaking gigs for example.

When I work with clients I tend to focus on having expansive product suites and affiliate marketing as the first in-line solution to a capped income problem.

Expansive product suites: good for you and your audience

A lot of the people I work with and people I see online are struggling with the concept of feeling capped at a certain income level and struggling with the idea of either having to bring on team members to do the job they do, but maybe not wanting to manage a team, or having to increase their prices to be able to push past that five-figure mark but feeling resistance to this as they don’t want to only work with a sub-group of their niche who can afford to work with them.

So instead, we take their current business and reconfigure, move things around and rebuild it so they have a time and financial freedom-focused business, rather than just trying to get as many 1:1 clients squeezed into their calendars as possible.

When we first start out, trying to fill our calendars with 1:1 clients is a good idea, it helps us to gain experience and we can take the learnings from 1:1 to develop frameworks that help our ideal clients get the results they’re looking for. And without this 1:1 work initially, it can be difficult to nail down that process, framework or way of working that gets these results as everyone we work with is so individual and unique, so each person will teach us something new to add to the framework.

But once we have that experience, that framework, that way of working that we can replicate and teach to more people without working 1:1, then this is where diversifying your product suite comes in. We can create different offers that are targeted to your ideal client at different stages of their journey. There are a few reasons why we do this:

  1. One-to-one work isn’t affordable for everyone – working 1:1 with someone is a time and financial investment that not everyone can afford. Creating different ways of working with you at different prices and time investment points can help you work with more people.
  2. The transformation may lend itself to a different medium. Your client may be able to get the same outcome your 1:1 provides or a better outcome via a different medium, like reading an eBook or doing a self-base course. Or a group programme may work really well for your transformation because of the community aspect. Play around with different ways of delivering your transformation.
  3. Your community may be at different stages of their journey and may need to have certain things in place before it is the right time for them to work with you. For example, if you are a business coach who helps people create more income with email, a self-paced course on choosing the right email provider for them could be a great starting point for those in the earlier stages.

Building out a product suite that is strategic can also help with scalability. You only have a limited number of slots in your calendar, but once you create an ebook, an unlimited number can be sold with little to no impact on your time.

To start developing your product suite or product ecosystem, start by mapping out your customer journey. It costs a lot more to bring a new client into your world and sell to them, rather than selling to someone who has already purchased something in the past. You want to develop an ecosystem that clearly points people to the product or service that they need right now to help them to achieve their goals or the transformation you promise.

An introduction to affiliate marketing

The second low-hanging fruit I help people to bring into their business to make 1:1 by invitation only is affiliate marketing. If you have been in my world for any time, you know I am a huge fan of affiliate marketing. I actually rebuilt my website last month and added a tracker which I update with the number of affiliate sales I have made and for the last year we are sitting at around 4360 which is super cool.

I love affiliate marketing because it really is the lowest effort in terms of delivery. Affiliate marketing is the process of recommending products or services to your community, audience or clients and receiving a small commission if they choose to purchase. So many businesses do this, from huge conglomerates like Amazon to small to medium-sized businesses to one-man bands like myself.

The reason why businesses have affiliate programmes is that word of mouth and referral recommendations work so well – people trust people and love hearing their experiences with a service or product, learning how it could help them, and potentially purchasing it. Plus affiliate marketing is a low-risk, potentially high reward because a business doesn’t pay for ads or pay someone to create content, it is free for someone to join, and the affiliate only gets rewarded if they make sales.

I love introducing affiliate marketing into people’s businesses because so often, kind of subconsciously, we are already recommending products and services to our clients and community all the time. If you are a nutritionist, I am sure you’re recommending supplements. If you’re a PT I am sure you’re recommending equipment like yoga mats or water bottles. If you are a business coach I am sure you’re recommending business books or planners. The list goes on and on.

When I think of affiliate marketing it really means recommending people and products who can help your clients and community better than you can. And I think people take this the wrong way or take offence but really what I mean is that staying in our zone of genius can be our superpower, and referring people to those who have a different zone of genius means we are always staying in integrity, giving people the best experience and potential results – and if have an affiliate relationship with that business we are referring on to, then win-win!

If you are thinking about affiliate marketing, as I said earlier, spend some time thinking about the products and services that you already recommend, see if they have affiliate programs, join them and start using those affiliate links throughout your business.

For more tips and tricks for getting started with affiliate marketing, unlock my free beginner’s masterclass on affiliate marketing.

Key takeaways: making 1:1 by invitation only

I hope you can see the potential moving from a 1:1 to a By Invitation Only business can have for your impact, income and time. By adding alternative revenue streams via affiliate marketing or product suite expansion, you can stop relying on 1:1 work for all your income and create a more sustainable small business.

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