I hope the subject heading got your attention.
When a mentor said this to me a couple years ago he got my attention all right, in fact I was royally pissed.
Actually what he said was this: “Until you have products you what I consider a have a successful practice…nothing wrong with a successful practice…but you do not have a business.”
I argued, “Look at everything I’ve accomplished. Look at everything I’ve learned. I actually made a profit last year. The IRS certainly thinks I have a business!”
“Those are all amazing accomplishments,” my mentor said “but if, God forbid, you got hit by a bus and couldn’t do any work for six months or longer what would happen to your business?”
“I’m the business,” I replied, “If I can’t work there is no business.”
A Practice Begins and Ends with You
Even if you have an amazing assistant. Even if you have clients who love you and sing your praises: no you, no business.
One year later, two years later, there isn’t even a vapor trail.
Now for a lot of people, this is completely cool. You may be reading this article and thinking “Hey its enough that I take good care of my clients and my business pays the bills for me and my family.”
You have a successful practice and that is something to be very proud of.
And the success of your practice depends entirely on your ability to
show up and be present. If you can’t show up, there is no business.
My dad was a dentist for over 40 years. He was a very good at his work and his patients adored him. When he retired he sold his practice to another dentist.
When my dad is at the grocery store or running errands people still come up to him and tell him how much they appreciated him and that they miss having him as their dentist.
I’m always impressed by the warm feelings my dad’s former patients still express to him. You can’t buy that kind of good will.
But the practice itself winked out of existence when my dad took his name off the door. Any special processes my dad knew, the things he said to calm nervous patients, the skills and knowledge he honed over the years; that’s all gone.
It’s About Influence and Making a Difference
This is not to belittle my dad’s accomplishments. He taught me a lot about working hard and with integrity. I’m proud of my dad.
At the same time, when I close shop for my business, in addition to having contributed to my clients success, I want to have products: books, classes, software, and tools that hundreds of thousands of people can use and benefit from my skills and knowledge.
When you create products, your business no longer depends on you because in a sense, you have replicated yourself. You’ve duplicated what made your business yours. The reason you got customers to begin with.
With products you can influence thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people. That’s a LOT bigger than what any practice can do.
Not that the Money isn’t Nice too
Most small business owners are attracted to creating information products because they love the idea of earning passive income from multiple sources.
It’s a great reason to sell products. Not such a great reason for creating products.
Seriously. If you’re into products primarily because you want multiple streams of revenue, I’ve got one word for you: Affiliates.
Sell other people’s products and make commission.
It’s easy. Most of the e-commerce products I use: my web host, my email and list management, and my shopping cart all pay me a percentage when people find them through me.
And I’m an affiliate for several businesses whose programs I’ve used and gotten good results from including Amazon.com.
Again, remember, your own products will outlive you, affiliate products will not.
Having a successful practice is huge accomplishment and you can make
a huge difference–as long as you’re around.
If you want a profitable business whose influence goes well beyond
the clients and customers you serve: then you want to create and
sell information products.
It’s the best way I know to take what you know and make money making
a difference in the world.